-

 

 

 




Optimization Online





 

From Predictive to Prescriptive Analytics

Dimitris Bertsimas (dbertsim***at***mit.edu)
Nathan Kallus (kallus***at***mit.edu)

Abstract: In this paper, we combine ideas from machine learning (ML) and operations research and management science (OR/MS) in developing a framework, along with specific methods, for using data to prescribe optimal decisions in OR/MS problems. In a departure from other work on data-driven optimization and reflecting our practical experience with the data available in applications of OR/MS, we consider data consisting, not only of observations of quantities with direct effect on costs/revenues, such as demand or returns, but predominantly of observations of associated auxiliary quantities. The main problem of interest is a conditional stochastic optimization problem, given imperfect observations, where the joint probability distributions that specify the problem are unknown. We demonstrate that our proposed solution methods, which are inspired by ML methods such as local regression (LOESS), classification and regression trees (CART), and random forests (RF), are generally applicable to a wide range of decision problems. We prove that they are computationally tractable and asymptotically optimal under mild conditions even when data is not independent and identically distributed (iid) and even for censored observations. As an analogue to the coefficient of determination R^2, we develop a metric P termed the coefficient of prescriptiveness to measure the prescriptive content of data and the efficacy of a policy from an operations perspective. To demonstrate the power of our approach in a real-world setting we study an inventory management problem faced by the distribution arm of an international media conglomerate, which ships an average of 1 billion units per year. We leverage both internal data and public online data harvested from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and Google to prescribe operational decisions that outperform baseline measures. Specifically, the data we collect, leveraged by our methods, accounts for an 88% improvement as measured by our coefficient of prescriptiveness.

Keywords: Data-driven decision making, machine learning, stochastic optimization, prescriptive analytics, inventory management, Google trends

Category 1: Applications -- OR and Management Sciences

Citation:

Download: [PDF]

Entry Submitted: 02/07/2015
Entry Accepted: 02/08/2015
Entry Last Modified: 02/09/2015

Modify/Update this entry


  Visitors Authors More about us Links
  Subscribe, Unsubscribe
Digest Archive
Search, Browse the Repository

 

Submit
Update
Policies
Coordinator's Board
Classification Scheme
Credits
Give us feedback
Optimization Journals, Sites, Societies
Mathematical Optimization Society