Gerrit Timmer


Gerrit Timmer

ORTEC and Free University Amsterdam

Making an impact with OR; lessons learned from 35 years of experience in applying OR

Date: Tuesday, July 5, 2016 - 10:30-12:00

Venue: Building CW, ground floor, Aula

Gerrit Timmer ORTEC and Free University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Gerrit Timmer studied econometrics at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. He obtained his PhD in 1984 for his research on stochastic methods for global optimization, supervised by Alexander Rinnooy Kan.

In 1981 he was co-founder of ORTEC and has been active in applying Operations Research in a wide range of application areas ever since. ORTEC is one of the largest independent consulting and software companies operating in the field of operations research and advanced analytics. ORTEC currently operates from offices in 12 countries and employs 1000 people most of which have a background in mathematical modelling, optimization and/or IT.

Next to his board role in ORTEC, Gerrit Timmer has always been active in the academic world. Currently, he is professor in business econometrics at the Free University in Amsterdam. He has been chairman of the Dutch Operations Research Society as well as the Dutch Statistical Society. Recently he was member of the committee “Deltaplan Mathematics” that advised Dutch government on specific actions to improve the education and research in mathematics and on how mathematics finds its way to society.

Making an impact with OR; lessons learned from 35 years of experience in applying OR
Improving business processes using optimization techniques can lead to huge benefits. Yet it is far from trivial how to apply mathematical modelling and optimization to realize those benefits. Moreover, the incredible advances in computer power; the explosion of data being available and the impressive advances in algorithmic ingenuity, make that models that are suitable today will not capture what is possible in the future.

In the past 35 years, I have been in the position to observe hundreds of projects in various industries and application areas, where subtle differences in circumstances and approach led to the impact varying from huge to none at all. I will summarize this experience in a number of lessons learned. Moreover, the lessons learned will be translated into directions for further research and may stimulate to see and grasp the endless opportunities for our field to have a huge impact in the future.