Two pedagogical challenges: teaching mathematical modeling and choosing performance measures.

Primary tabs

TITLE: Two pedagogical challenges: teaching mathematical modeling and choosing performance measures

SPEAKER:  Professor Steve Pollock


Developing mathematical models to describe (in some useful way) operational situation  is a critical component of doing effective Operations Research.  Yet, for most students, learning and internalizing the craft (or art) of doing mathematical modeling is a difficult and often mysterious journey.  And this struggle can actually be made worse by using a normal classroom lecture-reading-studying mode of teaching. Moreover, the pedagogical challenge to those who try to develop and hone students' abilities to model is complicated when measures of performance normally used to judge "success" in this educational process are either not clear or possibly pernicious.  Indeed, choosing measures of performance for just about any operational problems is often problematic.

The talk will address these issues via personal experiences, anecdotes and opinions.  Any formal mathematics presented or discussed will be incidental, elementary or purposely unnecessarily complicated.


Stephen M. Pollock is Herrick Emeritus Professor of Manufacturing and Professor Emeritus of Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan.  He has been involved in applying operations research and decision analysis methods to understand and influence of a variety of operational phenomena involving: military search and detection, criminal recidivism, manufacturing process monitoring, sequential allocation of resources, predictive and proactive maintenance, sports, networks of queues, the stochastic behavior of infectious disease epidemics and the optimization of radiation oncology plans.
After receiving his Ph.D. at M.I.T. in 1964 he was a member of the technical staff at Arthur D. Little, Inc. before joining the faculty at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1965 and the University of Michigan in 1969.  He was chair of the IOE Department from 1981 through 1990.  In 1992 he was the recipient of the Stephen S. Attwood Award, the highest honor awarded to a faculty member by the College of Engineering. He has authored over 65 technical papers, co-edited two books, and has served as a consultant to over 30 industrial, governmental and service organizations.
Professor Pollock was Associate Editor and Area Editor of Operations Research, Senior Editor of IIE Transactions, Associate Editor of Management Science and on the editorial boards of other journals.  He has served on various advisory boards for the National Science Foundation, on the Army Science Board, and chaired and been member of many National Research Council committees, boards and panels.  He was President of the Operations Research Society of America in 1986 and awarded the 2001 INFORMS Kimball Medal for contributions to operations research and the management sciences.  He a fellow of INFORMS and the AAAS and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Anita Race
  • Created:04/12/2010
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016


  • No categories were selected.


  • No keywords were submitted.