Laura Albert McLay is an affiliate of the optimization group at WID and an Associate Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Her background is in operations research–the discipline of applying advanced analytical methods to make better decisions.

She recently gave a SILO Seminar at WID titled A Modified Logistic Regression Markov Chain Model for Forecasting the College Football Playoff illustrating how it is possible to forecast the teams that will be selected for the four team playoff. 

What do you work on?

My research studies how to allocate scarce resources to patients, passengers, and casualties in a risk-based manner. We care about how to allocate resources because we live in a world with limited resources and we have to make tradeoffs. Resource allocation problems are hard problems to solve because we must weigh multiple criteria and consider many types of operating constraints. Additionally–and importantly–real systems have many interdependencies, meaning that we cannot affect one part of the system without creating ripple effects through the entire system. Optimization and mathematical modeling tools are great for studying these issues.

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