ORIE Colloquium - Avi Mandelbaum (Technion) - Data-Based Service Networks: A Research Framework for Asymptotic Inference, Analysis and Control of Service Systems

Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 3:00pm

Frank H. T. Rhodes Hall, 253

The lecture is on data-based research of service systems, pertaining to telephone call centers, hospitals, public services, banks, airports, supermarkets and more. The focus is on operational performance - e.g. customer flow and system congestion (with operational characteristics serving also as surrogates for financial, psychological and clinical performance). And my mathematical framework is asymptotic queueing theory, specifically fluid approximations and their diffusion refinements.

My ultimate goal is a platform for automatic online creation of data-based models, which will be universally accessible for applications by researchers, students and ultimately practitioners. This is a tall order, which requires the cooperation of statisticians, operations researchers, industrial engineers, information scientists and service providers. It is currently pursued at the Technion SEE Laboratory ie.technion.ac.il/Labs/Serveng.

The data-source for my research is a unique data repository from call centers, hospitals and websites, which is maintained at the SEELab. It is unique in that it is transaction-based; it details the individual operational history of all the service transactions (e.g., calls in a call center or patients in a hospital). One source of this data, publicly available, is a network of four call centers of a U.S. bank, spanning two and a half years and employing about 1,000 agents; there are 218,047,488 telephone calls overall, out of which 41,646,142 were served by agents, while the rest were handled by answering machines. Another public source covers patient flow in a 1000-bed hospital. The data can be explored via SEEStat and SEEGraph, which are environments for online Exploratory Data Analysis.

Avishai Mandlebaum is the Benjamin & Florence Free Professor of Industrial Engineering and Management, Technion, Israel. He has a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Computer Science and an M.A. in Statistics, both summa cum laude from Tel-Aviv University. His Ph.D. is in Operations Research, from Cornell University. After graduation, in 1983, he joined the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. He then left the U.S.A., in 1991, to assume a position at the Technion. Prof. Mandelbaum is an INFORMS fellow. He was an associate editor of the leading journals in his field, and his research and teaching have enjoyed various prizes, in particular the inaugural Yanai Prize for Academic Excellence at the Technion. His research has focused on stochastic models (analysis, asymptotics, control) and statistics, with applications to service systems, notably tele-services (eg. telephone call centers) and healthcare (eg. patient flow through emergency departments).

Prof. Mandelbaum is the founder and director of the Technion SEE Laboratory (SEE = Service Enterprise Engineering). This lab maintains a unique rich repository of data from service operations, and it serves as a hub for Service Science and Engineering research.


Event Type



College of Engineering, Operations Research and Information Engineering


engineering, operations research, orie






Avi Mandelbaum

Speaker Affiliation

Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

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