Operations has traditionally considered decision-making (including queuing, scheduling, pricing, routing) from the perspective of a single firm. However, in several recent socio-economic developments – for example, modern online platforms, decentralized energy generation, and decentralized ledgers – the requisite decisions are instead distributed among many independent people. While these crowd-based operations disrupt centrally controlled practices, they empower individuals and enable new applications. Whether intermediated by a centralized platform or wholly decentralized, the operations of these systems are complicated by the underlying complex network structures, the challenges of large-scale alignment of incentives, and of learning from data. Moreover, the decentralized and people-centric nature of processes on these platforms entails working with “indirect” operational levers such as recommendations, signaling, information design, and user interface design. They further pose additional constraints pertaining to fairness and ethics.

This workshop will bring together researchers from across operations management, computer science, and economics to explore new challenges and research directions of such crowd-based systems.

Potential areas include:

Submission May 14, 2021, Anywhere on Earth
Notification June 21, 2021
Workshop July 23, 2021

Keynote Speakers

Sean Meyn
Sean Meyn
University of Florida

Karen Smilowitz
Karen Smilowitz
Northwestern University
Dr. Karen Smilowitz is the James N. and Margie M. Krebs Professor in Industrial Engineering and Management Science at Northwestern University, with a joint appointment in the Operations group at the Kellogg School of Management. Dr. Smilowitz is an expert in modeling and solution approaches for logistics and transportation systems in both commercial and non-profit applications, working with transportation providers, logistics specialists and a range of non-profit organizations. She has been instrumental in promoting the use of operations research within the humanitarian and nonprofit sectors through the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Academy of Engineering, as well as various media outlets. Dr. Smilowitz is Editor-in-chief of the INFORMS journal, Transportation Science. Dr. Smilowitz received the Award for the Advancement of Women in OR/MS from INFORMS and led the winning team in the INFORMS Innovative Applications of Analytics Award.