2017 Annual Meeting

of the Decision Sciences Institute



MI6: Math, Money, Merriment, Matching, Mortality, and Moonshots
Sunday, November 19th 2017

Sridhar Tayur

Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University

Many of us aspire to simultaneously pursue these four goals in our professional lives: (1) publish innovative research (2) develop useful teaching materials (3) create economic value in a capitalist system and (4) improve social welfare in our society.  I would like to take the occasion of this keynote to celebrate our vibrant and versatile field by discussing six of my interests (“MI6”) and by highlighting seven startups.


  1. Math: From Algebraic Geometry to Queuing Games, from Rapidly Mixing Markov Chains to Infinitesimal Perturbation Analysis, from Computational Mathematical Programming to Machine Learning, and more, from our quantitative arsenal (“Q-Branch”).
  2. Money: Software entrepreneurship in the 21st century has offered us — algorithmic experts — an unprecedented path to prosperity. I will briefly discuss my software company SmartOps (acquired by SAP).
  3. Merriment: What’s the point of doing math, making money, improving and saving lives, etc. if you cannot also be cheerful? I will discuss two startups, one in video game advertising (Massive Incorporated, acquired by Microsoft) and one in on-line fashion rental (Rent-the-Runway).
  4. Matching: Continuing on our merry path, I will discuss more 2-sided platforms, one that matches Yoga (and Spinning etc.) studios with consumers (Zenrez). Turning a bit serious, I will discuss VocalID that is bringing voice to the voiceless.
  5. Mortality: Stepping up on being serious. Using OrganJet, my social enterprise, as an anchor I will discuss how to make organ transplantation in the U.S. more fairly accessible while also increasing supply of organs and reducing waste.
  6. Moonshots: Everyone should have at least one to contribute towards.  I will discuss a startup (MITRA Biotech) in the area of personalized cancer therapy.

The 5 Best Decisions the Beatles Ever Made . . . . And Why You Should Make Them Too!
Sunday, November 19th 2017

Bill Stainton

Bill Stainton is a multiple Emmy Award-winning TV producer, writer, and performer; an author; a business humorist; and an internationally-recognized Beatles expert. He blends the business smarts he acquired from twenty years in corporate management with the show biz sparks he garnered from working with people like Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, and Bill Nye the Science guy to create entertaining and enlightening presentations enjoyed by audiences around the world.

As the executive producer of Seattle’s legendary comedy TV show Almost Live!, Stainton led a talented and highly creative team to unparalleled success: a #1 rating for ten straight years, and over 100 Emmy Awards (29 of which went to Stainton). At the same time, he also owned his own corporate training company, authoring nine training programs in subjects ranging from Office Politics to Customer Service to Team Motivation. He’s been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and Forbes, and is a regular columnist for Seattle Business magazine. From Maine to Malaysia, Stainton is committed to helping his audiences achieve their highest potential— while maintaining a sense of fun along the way.

Stainton’s keynote, titled “The 5 Best Decisions the Beatles Ever Made . . . . And Why You Should Make Them Too!” will prove that success in life is not a result of luck, a fluke or a break, but rather the result of specific decisions made. Stainton combines music, video and audience interaction for an entertaining, energizing and enlightening keynote.


Value-Focused Decision-Making
Monday, November 20th 2017

Ralph Keeney

Fuqua School of Business, Duke University

The only purposeful way you can influence anything in your life is by your decisions. Everything else just happens beyond your control, due to others’ decisions and happenstance. Thus, your decision-making is important. Your decisions empower you to make contributions at work in businesses, organizations, and government and to enhance the quality of your life and those of your family and friends.

Quality decision-making is based on your decision-making skills, and we all can improve our decision-making skills. As with any skill, improvement requires understanding how one should do something well and then practicing the techniques to do it well. This presentation discusses procedures to enhance your skills and apply them to address five key issues in decision-making: understanding why you care and what you hope to achieve by making a decision, creating alternatives better than those readily available, creating win-win alternatives that will allow an authorized decision-maker (e.g. one’s boss) to support the alternative you desire, proactively identifying decision opportunities that you could choose to face that offer significant benefits including preempting the occurrence of some future decision problems, and developing the strategic objectives of the decision-maker (an individual or an organization) to provide guidance and consistency for all of the decision-makers decisions. Each of the procedures are practical to use and rely on common sense and focused effort.

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