After reading Puget’s post, I decided to write this one, where I will try to explain the difference between Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics and, within the latter, the difference between a System based on Business Rules and one based on Optimisation.
A few months ago at Decide we chose to embark on a Corporate Social Responsibility project, an initiative proposed by the Human Resources Department. After an internal round of questions and suggestions, we opted for the Food Bank of Madrid.
In recent years, many times I have had to argue that the using Linear and Integer Linear Programming was not the most appropriate one to solve routing problems. This is not an absolute truth, although it is true that it makes quite a bit of sense as a general rule.
I would like this post to be a tribute to Guillermo, as advisor and as a friend, as a key element of Decide’s genome that will last forever. How many times, today, do we the partners ask ourselves, every time we face a problem: What would Guillermo say?
Out of all of Decide’s values, there is one that we give special importance to, even though we have not bothered to define it precisely: excellence. It may seem initially that it is not necessary to define this word, but looking it up in the Spanish Dictionary of the Royal Academy, we can read this definition:
One of the questions I get asked quite often from members of the Decide Operational Research Unit is: How is a Piecewise Linear Function (PWL) formulated so that it can be resolved with an Integer Linear Programming engine?
To determine if a number is almost a palindrome, we would need to define a function that allows us to measure the distance from being a palindrome. Once such as measure were defined, we would need to define a threshold of values for which we would consider the licence plate to be almost a palindrome.
This is what I mean when I talk about optimisation: the application of software, mathematical or statistical techniques in automated decision-making. This is the work that Decide has been conducting in this area since it was founded.
The Project aims to automate, based on a series of requests and variables, shifts assignments for personnel in charge of driving trains and serving at stations. Assignments need to comply with existing agreements, be reliable and consistent. Also, they must be able to adapt according to people’s different circumstances and business needs at any given time.