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The Data for Good Speaker Series is set for 1 p.m. Eastern on December 1, 2023, in the Krannert Auditorium. Questions about this event can be directed to Center Coordinator Kami Copas.

Alfred Spector

Dr. Alfred Spector
Visiting Scholar at MIT and Senior Advisor at Blackstone


Beyond Models – Applying Data Science/AI Effectively

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Applying data science and artificial intelligence effectively requires a considerably broader focus than just data and machine learning. Based on the speaker and his co-authors' recent book (Data Science in Context, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2022), this presentation distills these additional challenges into a rubric and illustrates its application with a number of examples. Beyond the rubric, the presentation also presents useful frameworks to help in making the complex trade-offs that are often inherent in AI and DS solutions. While the talk should have practical value to those applying AI and DS, it also illustrates contemporary research challenges.

Dr. Alfred Spector is a Visiting Scholar at MIT and a Senior Advisor at Blackstone. His career has led him from innovation in large-scale, networked computing systems to broad engineering and research leadership. Recently, he co-authored a textbook, “Data Science in Context: Foundations, Challenges, Opportunities.”

Previously, Spector was CTO and Head of Engineering at Two Sigma Investments. Before that, he spent eight years as VP of Research and Special Initiatives at Google, and he held various senior-level positions at IBM, including as global VP of Services and Software Research and global CTO of IBM’s Software Business. Earlier in his career, he founded Transarc Corporation, a pioneer in distributed transaction processing and wide-area file systems, and he was a tenured professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

Spector is a Hertz Fellow and also a Fellow of both the ACM and the IEEE. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Spector won the 2001 IEEE Kanai Award for Distributed Computing and the 2016 ACM Software Systems Award. In 2018-19, Dr. Spector lectured widely as a Phi Beta Kappa Scholar (for example, on the growing importance of computer science across all disciplines based on the evocative phrase, “CS+X”). He has been a member of the ACM Turing Award Committee and has done national service through chairing the NSF’s CISE Advisory Board and membership on the Army and now the Defense Science Boards. He has had extensive international experience due to broad responsibilities at IBM, Google, and Two Sigma. Dr. Spector obtained a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford and a B.A. in applied math from Harvard.

Nilanjan Adhya

Nilanjan (Neel) Adhya
Chief Digital Officer, BlackRock


Rethinking the Customer Experience in the Age of Digital Disruption

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Shifts in consumer behavior driven by digital disruption requires brands to rethink and reimagine relationships with customers. Shifting brands to become customer experience-centric requires a fundamental rethinking of the operating model. In his talk, Nilanjan Adhya, will touch on how organizations can succeed in shaping an experience-centric business model, and how proficiency with data, design, and engineering can help organizations create great experiences and shape consumer interaction.

Nilanjan (Neel) Adhya is the Chief Digital Officer of BlackRock — the world’s largest investment management corporation. In his role, Neel actively collaborates with marketing, design, product, and sales teams at BlackRock to reimagine all aspects of digital experiences, create new digital innovations, build great experiences, and accelerate transformation across the digital ecosystem. He is passionate about blending design, data, and cross-functional teams to create experiences that people love. Neel has over 25 years of experience working at the intersection of technology, platforms, and people to help global organizations leverage new business models and drive growth. Prior to BlackRock, Neel was the Chief Digital Officer of IBM’s Cognitive Applications Unit and Vice President of Digital Transformation, where he was instrumental in building the digital platforms that power experiences for IBM’s cloud and AI products.

Neel is a keynote speaker at several digital and innovation-focused industry conferences. He frequently shares his thinking on building innovative products and driving transformation in his blog and on LinkedIn. Neel lives in Fairfield, CT with his wife and two kids.

Ranganath Nuggehalli

Ranganath S. NuggeHalli
Principal Scientist, UPS


Making of ORION – Sweating the Small Stuff

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In 2003, UPS, the leading logistics provider in the world, and long known for its penchant for efficiency, embarked on a journey to streamline and modernize its pickup and delivery operations. This journey resulted in the “On Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation (ORION)” system. ORION provides an optimized route for each of UPS’ 70,000 U.S. drivers based on the packages to be picked up and delivered on that day. The system creates routes that maintain the desired level of consistency from day to day. To bring this transformational system from concept to reality, UPS instituted extensive change management practices to ensure that both users and executives would accept the system. Costing more than $295 million to build and deploy, ORION is estimated to save UPS more than $400 million annually. ORION is also contributing to the sustainability efforts of UPS by reducing its CO2 emissions by 100,000 tons annually.

This talk will discuss the development of ORION and the hurdles that UPS had to overcome to make the project successful.

Ranganath Nuggehalli is the Principal Scientist of Operations Research at UPS. His group is responsible for developing advanced planning systems for use in UPS operations. He joined UPS in 1990 after completing Ph.D. in Operations Management from Purdue University. His childhood interest in improving efficiency led him to operations research. Implementing Operations Research based planning systems is his passion. Unfortunately, he is yet to learn that life is not an optimization process. His research interests are routing and scheduling, network modeling, location analysis, system integration, and computer-human interfaces.
He is a laureate of the Franz Edelman Academy and an Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS) Fellow. He is a current board member of the INFORMS Practice Section.

If you go to his house, you may not get food; but you will always get good wine.

Tim Jacobs

Tim Jacobs, PHD, PE
Director of Research Science, Amazon


Freight Capacity Portfolio Design in Amazon’s Two-Sided Freight Marketplace

In the Amazon linehaul transportation marketplace, Amazon acquires capacity to ship truckloads in its middle mile network and provides capacity to external shippers. Because of Amazon’s high shipment volumes and commitment to rapid delivery of goods to customers, some capacity is most efficiently acquired long before it is utilized, while some capacity is best acquired immediately preceding its use. Amazon’s large internal demand for linehaul shipping means that Amazon is well-positioned to do this, acquiring a portion of capacity through medium and long-term contracts before specific demand for that capacity is identified while delaying the acquisition of dynamically priced spot capacity for highly uncertain demand. At Amazon, we have developed a transportation marketplace, and a series of models and tools, that allow Amazon to use pricing levers to optimize its transportation capacity portfolio. This approach enables Amazon to effectively align capacity risk, supply risk, and price, and to provide carriers and shippers with tools to effectively manage their operations. We give an overview of this marketplace and survey some of the models that we have built to balance and price our capacity portfolio.

Tim Jacobs is the Director of Research Science, Middle Mile Planning Research, and Optimization Science for Amazon. At Amazon, Tim’s teams oversee the research and development of mathematical optimization, Generative AI and machine learning applications, and strategic initiatives for middle-mile air and ground logistics worldwide. Tim leads strategic development efforts including the modeling and analysis supporting the design and operation of Amazon’s air and surface networks. His team focuses on the development of innovative algorithms and applications to design and manage the world’s largest integrated air, trucking, rail, and maritime transport business. Previously, Tim held several executive positions at American Airlines, US Airways, and Sabre. Tim received his doctorate in Operations Research and Engineering Systems from Purdue University. He continues to pursue new research initiatives, has authored more than 35 refereed publications, holds multiple U.S. patents within the airline and supply chain industry, and is a licensed Professional Engineer.

The Statistics and Optimization in Data Science Workshop hosted by Purdue University’s Daniels School of Business was recently held in a joint effort of the school’s Quantitative Methods Area and the Krenicki Center for Business Analytics and Machine Learning.

Statistics and Optimization are two primary pillars of data science. Advanced machine learning algorithms in data science use statistics to extract value from datasets and are often rooted in optimization methods. By bringing these disciplines together, we hope this conference will foster more innovations at the crossroads of the two fields. The content ranged from theory to applications, advice to foresight, and information theory to algorithms.

Slides and/or videos are posted wherever possible. Enjoy!

Name Presentation Title Video Link
Zhiliang Ying, in memory of Tze Leung Lai Encounters with Martingales in Statistics and Stochastic Optimization
Stephen J. Wright Optimization in Data Science Watch Session
Moulinath Banerjee Tackling Posterior Drift Via Linear Adjustments and Exponential Tilts Watch Session
Hamsa Bastani Decision-Aware Learning for Global Health Supply Chains Watch Session
Alexandre Belloni Neighborhood Adaptive Estimators for Causal Inference under Network Interference Watch Session
Yuxin Chen Towards Minimax-Optimal Multi-Agent RL in Markov Games Watch Session
Ilias Diakonikolas Non-Gaussian Component Analysis and its Applications
Jelena Diakonikolas Advances in Cyclic Block Coordinate Methods: Gradient Extrapolation, Acceleration, and Variance Reduction Watch Session
Peter Frazier Grey-box Bayesian Optimization Watch Session
Mert Gürbüzbalaban Heavy-tail Phenomenon in SGD
George Lan First Order Policy Optimization for Robust Markov Decision Process Watch Session
Jinchi Lv Optimal Nonparametric Inference with Two-Scale Distributional Nearest Neighbors
Michael Mahoney Multiplicative noise and heavy tails in stochastic optimization and machine learning Watch Session
Rahul Mazumder Computational Lenses for learning under structural constraints: sparsity, decision trees, and conditional computing Watch Session
Roberto I. Oliveira Trimmed sample means for robust uniform mean estimation and regression Watch Session
Gesualdo Scutari Some Reflections on Decentralized Optimization for High-Dimensional Statistical Inference Watch Session
Hari Sundaram Learning tails from heads: Item prototype representations for few-shot recommendations Watch Session
Huixia Judy Wang Estimation for Quantile Spatially Varying Coefficient Models over Complicated Domains Watch Session
Kaizheng Wang Pseudo-Labeling for Kernel Ridge Regression under Covariate Shift Watch Session
Lan Wang Fairness-oriented Learning for Optimal Individualized Treatment Rules
Wei Biao Wu Concentration bounds for statistical learning for time-dependent data
Wenxin Zhou Some Recen­t Developments in Expected Shortfall Regression Watch Session

Final Round December 1, 2023

              The 2023 Purdue University SAS Optimization Challenge Competition is for all undergraduate and graduate students across the university. This analytics immersion experience provides an opportunity to receive high-quality training in prescriptive analytics using SAS software. Students will learn to formulate and solve common optimization problems using SAS software for 2-3 days, then are challenged to form teams of 3-4 students to solve a challenging case problem. Teams may be composed of all undergraduate, graduate, or a combination of both undergraduate and graduate students. 


To register for this event please visit Login - Pitch (

Final Round December 2, 2023

At the crossroads of critical thinking, data analysis, artificial intelligence, and communication, this elite case competition is designed to challenge undergraduate and graduate students across the country to compete for $45,000 in prize money.

Registering and paying the $40/team registration fee guarantees the following:

  • Expert Training for Free Microsoft Azure Fundamentals and Azure AI*
  • Free Microsoft Azure Fundamentals and Azure AI practice exams
  • Free Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Certification exam (for the first 1,500 registrants)
  • $99 value/exam available to you at the $40 case competition registration fee!
  • Expert INFORMS Job Task Analysis (JTA) Training* - the “blueprint” for the content of the INFORMS Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) exam.

For more information and to register your team please visit

Jointly-sponsored by School of Business Master's Programs, the Krenicki Center for Business Analytics & Machine Learning, #Microsoft, #SILInternational, and #INFORMS, the largest professional analytics organization in the world. This elite analytics competition challenges undergraduate and graduate students all across the country to compete for $25,000 in prize money!

  • In Phase I of the competition, students participated in training from Microsoft expert trainers on Azure and AI fundamentals and also received FREE practice exams and certification vouchers on their state-of-the-art Azure platform. All students will received a badge for completing these training courses.
  • In Phase II of the competition, teams of students were then tasked to apply that learning using Microsoft and open-source tools to develop a solution to a problem provided by SIL International. Students teams were ranked by their performance on the leaderboard.
  • In Phase III, the top three undergraduate and graduate student teams were invited to Purdue University-West Lafayette for in-person presentations of their solution. These teams will were provided FREE housing and food accommodations and treated like the rock stars that they are. Student teams were expected to present their work by aligning it to the INFORMS Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) 7 JTA domains (e.g., Business Problem Framing, Analytics Problem Framing, etc.), while showing the potential business or social implications that their approach could have that is different from others.

Kindly supported by the Blake family, the Krenicki Center sponsored a special panel discussion as part of the annual Conference on Information Systems and Technology (CIST) held in downtown Indianapolis on October 15-16. The theme of the panel discussion focuses on technology, diversity (and inclusion), and social justice. The panel discussion was hosted by Professor Karthik Kannan, the former Academic Director of the Krenicki Center. He was joined by three panelists, who are all experts in their chosen fields and thought leaders on the panel’s theme about technology and inclusion. Professor Olivia Sheng is the Presidential Professor at the University of Utah and the President of INFORMS Information Systems Society. Professor Rakesh (Ricky) Vohra is the George A. Weiss and Lydia Bravo Weiss University Professor at University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Monark Vyas is the Managing Director at Accenture and the Lead of Accenture’s AI @ Products.

The panel discussion was joined by the participants of the conference. This year, CIST hosted more than 400 participants (with over 350 in-person attendees), the largest in its history. Faculty members and PhD students from Purdue's business school, across multiple areas such as MIS, Quant Methods, and Marketing, attended the panel discussion. The Krenicki Center sponsored the registrations for all business PhD students who attended the conference and the panel discussion.

CIST is a premier annual conference in the field of MIS. It is often held in conjunction with the INFORMS Annual Meeting. This year, over 6,000 people attended in the INFORMS Annual Meeting. If you have any questions or want to know more about the event, please feel free to contact Professor Zaiyan Wei (

The Krenicki Center is proud to have sponsored the first event callout for The Business Analytics and Information Management Student Association, which was formed to advocate and support the students of the new BAIM undergraduate program. The Association is involved in the community and working towards improving BAIM students’ experience at Purdue. They serve as representatives of BAIM students by gauging their needs, addressing their questions, and working closely with the BAIM administration and leadership as thought partners.

The event was held on September 6, and aimed to reach as many students as possible, providing them with a great opportunity to network with each other and many professionals. There were four areas of focus during the callout by answering questions about internship, connecting BAIM students with professors, connecting students with each other, and introducing the Krenicki Center to students. The callout was hugely successful with 80 BAIM students participating, and benefiting from at least one of the four focuses we planned out.




smiling Stamina case competition students

A 2018 alumna has circled back to the School of Business to again participate in a case competition — this time as CEO of her own startup, presenting a case to current students. 

Christine Rasquinha is a graduate of the 3+2 program that allows high-achieving students to earn both their undergraduate and master’s degree in only five years. She recently returned to Purdue for the STAMINA case competition that requires teams of students to solve a business challenge.

Click here to read more.

Krenicki Center Webinar Series - April 22, 2021, 11 a.m. EDT

Collaborating with faculty, students and corporate partners, the John and Donna Krenicki Center for Business Analytics and Machine Learning enhances research and dissemination of state-of-the-art information technologies and analytical techniques to solve your complex data analytics challenges.

Featured Speakers:

Anurag Harsh
 has been named LinkedIn’s #1 Voice in Technology, and is the Global Chief Data Officer for the $30 Billion LafargeHolcim Group, the world’s largest building materials company. He leads business re-imagination through AI driven Industry X.0 initiatives across the company’s 2300 operating sites in 80 countries with a focus on sustainability and carbon emission reduction since concrete is the most widely used substance after water. LafargeHolcim fuels the planet's largest infrastructure projects. Anurag has authored 7 books and 500+ articles. He graduated with an MBA and MS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Wharton School.

Samta Kapoor is a Managing Director at Accenture with over 10 years of experience leading large transformations, helping clients drive innovation and optimizing business processes. At Accenture Samta focuses on growing the Financial Services and the Resources business for Applied Intelligence on the West coast. She is a part of the high value consulting team. She enjoys using her technical and business skills to help clients achieve their strategic goals by “Thinking in the New.” Working in Chile and Argentina has given her global exposure and a beginner level proficiency in Spanish. She earned an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, has a master's degree in Engineering Management from Duke University, and is an Electronics and Telecommunications engineer.

Purdue's Krenicki Center for Business Analytics & Machine Learning partnered with Discovery Park, Integrated Data Science Initiative (IDSI), and SportsUNITED to bring an exciting Esport Hackathon to the Mid-West. Centered on the Purdue University Campus, West Lafayette, IN teams competed in a 24-hour Challenge, using cutting-edge technology (Machine Learning, AI, AR/VR, NLP, Immersive Media, Machine Vision, Blockchain) to develop innovative data solutions that solve problems for Data Visualizations and Predictive Analytics to support Fan Experience,  eAthlete Training & Performance.

The photo is of winning team along with Krenicki Center Director Karthik Kannan, BAIM Program Director Matthew Lanham, and SportsUnited Rep Oliver Wells

Esport Data Hackathon Winning Team along with BIAC Director Karthik Kannan, BAIM Program Director Matthew Lanham, and SportsUnited Rep Oliver Wells

Similar to real-world business projects, the STAMINA4 case competition is an intensive, experiential learning opportunity that allows students to showcase their critical thinking and analytical abilities, communicate their ideas, and demonstrate mental tenacity.  STAMINA4 participants only have four hours to analyze a case and create a presentation to share their recommendations.

The STAMINA4 IT/Analytics Winning Teams: 
1st place Team Analytica consisting of team members:  Juilee Bhosale, Kiran Samayam, Lorena Bustamante and Sonia Daryani.
2nd place Team Savy consisting of team members:  Ananth Nath, Shubham Gupta, Vijaya Rani and Yuvraj Gupta.
3rd place J.A.K.Z Consulting Group:  Alec Riedman, Joseph Sawicki, Kristen Scully and Zoe Jordan.
4th place Winter is Coming:  Fandy Fauzi, Jung Choi, Priyanka Jain and Srijan Saurabh.

The photo is the winning team along with our corporate judges and Krenicki center director Karthik Kannan; Clare Harshey with Crane Division, Susan Rowe with Ogilvy Neo, Dave Suwanski with Nielsen and Bhagat Kandula with Wabash National.

STAMINA4 ITAnalytics Case Challenge Winning Team

The objective of this conference was to feature speakers from business, economics, statistics, computer science, engineering, and other areas as they explore the use of data science to solve real-world problems.

Data Science for Business and Economics Conference

The Krenicki Center for Business Analytics & Machine Learning and Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP) recently joined together to offer a unique opportunity to Purdue's full time undergraduate and Master's students to work on a real-world data analytics problem faced by CISCO, utilizing a dataset provided by the company. Interdisciplinary student teams analyzed the dataset to come up with recommendations. The top seven teams presented their findings to a panel of judges consisting of senior executives. The winning team was KIME Consulting comprised of Chung Tang from the school of business, Qi Meng from the college of science, Ruoxuan Zhao from the school of business and Xin Wei from The college of health and human sciences.


2017 Stamina4 IT Analytics Winning Team
2017 STAMINA4 IT/ANALYTICS winning team including two of our corporate judges; Dave Suwanski with Nielsen Company and Mike Courtney with Accenture Operations; 
Winning team members were: 
Christine Rasquinha 
Siddhanth Rajagopolan 
Mike Hansen (missing from the picture)  
Randy Wang

Teams from Northwestern University and the Georgia Institute of Technology won the inaugural Krannert-Walmart Data Dive on the campus of Purdue University on April 2-3. Each team took home $5,000 in prize money.

A total of 17 teams from 11 universities took part in the competition. Graduate and undergraduate students used Walmart trend data and were tasked with developing solutions in two areas—customer segmentation and predicting products for efficient shelf space usage.

Several Walmart executives were on hand for the 24-hour competition, including Karenann Terrell, executive vice president and chief information officer.

“You won’t find the kind of commitment these students displayed during the competition very often,” Terrell said. “I was incredibly impressed by the breadth and insight of the questions we were asked.”

For Northwestern student Eric Lundquist, who was part of the winning team in customer segmentation, the competition provided real-world perspective to what he is learning in the classroom.

“Statistics are only useful in the extent to which they provide business value and can be communicated clearly and understood fully. We spend a lot of time considering the business value and actionability of our approach, which is something that doesn’t always come up in some of our more technical academic coursework,” Lundquist said.

Georgia Tech’s Brian Burns said his team found the large amount of information allowed them to drill deeper into the company’s issues. “I’ve had experience with data-driven decisions prior to this competition, but what Walmart’s data set highlighted is that strategic decisions can become more granular as the volume and variety of information becomes larger,” Burns said.

In addition to the winning schools and the host team from Purdue, the competitors included entries from Indiana University, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, University of Iowa, University of Maryland, University of Rochester and University of Texas-Dallas.

The competition is believed to be the first data dive on a college campus. It was organized by Mohammad Rahman, associate professor of management at Purdue’s Krannert School of Management, and was the first major activity conducted by Purdue’s Krenicki Center for Business Analytics & Machine Learning.