Title: Applied Mathematics for Business Decision Making: The Next Frontiers


Speaker: Karl Kempf

Date: August 14
Time: 10:00 - 11:00
Room: Ballroom A

Chair: Pingwen Zhang


Abstract: Humans have been making decisions for hundreds of thousands of years. Over those years situations have become much more complex and therefore the decisions much more difficult. This is especially true in today’s business world where the difference between a good decision and a bad decision can be worth billions of dollars. On the one hand, applied mathematicians have developed a variety of powerful tools and techniques to support good decision making. This power has been magnified many times over by the invention and continuous improvement of the digital computer. On the other hand, the legacy of hundreds of thousands of years of human decision making before the advent of computers is intuition. As most humans faced with decisions recognize, sometimes intuition is helpful and sometimes it is misleading. This paper provides a rudimentary background on the rise of both intuition and analytics. It then provides quantitative data on the shortcomings of intuitive decision making and the benefits of decision making aided by analytics drawn from 25 years of work directed at improving business decision making at Intel Corporation. Finally it identifies the next frontier in applied mathematics for decision making in business as the beneficial merger of intuition and analytics. A few encouraging examples are displayed to help quantify the power of analytics guiding intuition and intuition guiding analytics.

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