Science Current Events | Science News |

CARE Int'l Pre-Positions Disaster Relief Using Promising Discipline of Humanitarian Logistics, Reports INFORMS Study

July 22, 2011
Operations research models developed by a team at the Georgia Institute of Technology helped CARE International pick three locations worldwide to supply relief quickly to victims of earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters, according to a paper in a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®).

Pre-Positioning of Emergency Items for CARE International is by Serhan Duran, currently at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara Turkey, and by Marco A. Gutierrez and Pinar Keskinocak of the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology. It appears in a special issue of the INFORMS journal Interfaces that is dedicated to the new, growing field of humanitarian logistics, which relies on industrial concepts like supply chain management to benefit the public sector.

The special issue is edited by Ozlem Ergun, Prof. Keskinocak, and Julie Swann, who are directors of the Georgia Tech Center for Health and Humanitarian Logistics.

A podcast interview with Professors Keskinocak and Swann is here and at

"The team's work not only gave us excellent recommendations regarding locations, inventory levels, and an expansion strategy for the network, but is also serving as the basis for funding proposals for the network," writes Rigoberto Giron, Associate Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Supply Chain Management, CARE, in a post-script to the study. "By pre-positioning we expect to reduce response time from weeks to 48-72 hours, reduce procurement costs by buying in larger quantities, reduce freight costs by using transportation resources more efficiently and improve coordination with other responding organizations."

The models created by the team helped CARE International review 12 suggested international locations for opening new CARE warehouses and finalize three, in Dubai, Panama, and Cambodia. They also helped CARE determine that, although more is better, the benefits of multiple relief-supply warehouses declines after the number reaches three to four, thus helping CARE make maximum use of its limited resources.

In their research, the authors considered two kinds of capacity constraints: the number of warehouses to open and the inventory amounts to keep throughout the pre-positioning network. They ran their model for the option of opening between one and nine warehouses and for three levels of inventory - high, medium, and low.

With funding limited, they also helped make the critical decision which warehouse location would be most valuable to open first. They recommended that CARE open its first depot in the Middle East, expand to Central America, and then to Southeast Asia. Given a gradual roll-out plan, they were able to determine that once all three warehouses were operational, the supplies should be divided 35% in Dubai, 15% in Central America, and 50% in Cambodia.

If CARE obtains the resources to open a fourth warehouse in Africa and a fifth in Europe, the authors' sensitivity analysis shows that the relief organizational will be at its highest possible state of readiness to respond to unforeseen disasters anywhere in the world.

The authors were able to make recommendations by modeling the frequency, location, and magnitude of future demand based on historical data about earlier CARE relief operations.

One of the first applications of the research took place during the 2010 Haitian earthquake. With a million water purification kits and other supplies at depots, CARE was able to rapidly deliver water purification tablets to victims of the earthquake from its Panama warehouse.

The team's model is a mixed integer program that was run on a 4 x 900 MHz processor using ILOG OPL Studio with the CPLEX solver.

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) is an international scientific society with 10,000 members, including Nobel Prize laureates, dedicated to applying scientific methods to help improve decision-making, management, and operations. Members of INFORMS work in business, government, and academia. They are represented in fields as diverse as airlines, health care, law enforcement, the military, financial engineering, and telecommunications. INFORMS serves the scientific and professional needs of operations research analysts, experts in analytics, consultants, scientists, students, educators, and managers, as well as their institutions, by publishing a variety of journals that describe the latest research in operations research. INFORMS Online (IOL) is at Further information about operations research can be found at

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®)

Related Operations Research Current Events and Operations Research News Articles

US cocaine use cut by half, while marijuana consumption jumps, study finds
The use of cocaine dropped sharply across the United States from 2006 to 2010, while the amount of marijuana consumed increased significantly during the same period, according to a new report.

Study: Open Collaboration, which Led to Bitcoin, TEDx and Wikipedia, Likely to grow
Open collaboration - which has brought the world Bitcoin, TEDx and Wikipedia - is likely to expand into new domains and displace traditional organizations.

Marijuana consumption in Washington state is higher than previously estimated, study finds
Marijuana consumption in Washington state is about twice as large as previously estimated, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Finnish study on climate change: Procrastination over mitigation measures could prove costly
Forecasts about global warming and its consequences are shrouded in uncertainty. Research scientists maintain that the risks associated with climate change are high, but are unable to estimate accurately how easily temperature reacts to changes in the levels of carbon dioxide.

How superbug spreads among regional hospitals: A domino effect
A moderate increase in vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) at one hospital can lead to a nearly 3 percent increase in VRE in every other hospital in that county.

Modest changes in military dining facilities promoted healthier eating
The prevalence of obesity within the military is currently 13 percent. This rising epidemic, also rampant throughout the general population, could result in military career setbacks, negatively impact operational readiness, and jeopardize Department of Defense operations.

Surgical-site infections may increase risk of deadly blood clots after colorectal surgery
Despite receiving blood thinners and other clot prevention treatment, some patients still develop potentially lethal blood clots in the first month after their operations anyway, especially if they developed a surgical-site infection while in the hospital, according to results of a study at Johns Hopkins.

New study of NIH funding allocations suggests potential efficiency gains
Researchers suggest that application of Nobel-prize-winning portfolio theory could provide objective funding allocations that would improve risk/reward trade-off in years of life lost.

Study looks at predicting NFL betting lines
When bookmakers set the over/under line for NFL games they tend to give weight to the number of points a team scored in its immediate previous game. But that statistic is a poor predictor of the number of points to be scored in the next game.

University of Miami business professor helps create a successful scheduling method for umpires in Major League Baseball
Scheduling umpire crews in Major League Baseball (MLB) can be a daunting task. However, Tallys Yunes, assistant professor of management science at the University of Miami School of Business Administration and his collaborators have created a novel solution.
More Operations Research Current Events and Operations Research News Articles

Operations Research: An Introduction (9th Edition)

Operations Research: An Introduction (9th Edition)
by Hamdy A. Taha (Author)

Operations Research: An Introduction, 9/e is ideal for or junior/senior undergraduate and first-year graduate courses in Operations Research in departments of Industrial Engineering, Business Administration, Statistics, Computer Science, and Mathematics.   This text streamlines the coverage of the theory, applications, and computations of operations research. Numerical examples are effectively used to explain complex mathematical concepts. A separate chapter of fully analyzed applications aptly demonstrates the diverse use of OR. The popular commercial and tutorial software AMPL, Excel, Excel Solver, and Tora are used throughout the book to solve practical problems and to test theoretical...

Operations Research: Applications and Algorithms (with CD-ROM and InfoTrac)

Operations Research: Applications and Algorithms (with CD-ROM and InfoTrac)
by Wayne L. Winston (Author)

The market-leading textbook for the course, Winston's OPERATIONS RESEARCH owes much of its success to its practical orientation and consistent emphasis on model formulation and model building. It moves beyond a mere study of algorithms without sacrificing the rigor that faculty desire. As in every edition, Winston reinforces the book's successful features and coverage with the most recent developments in the field. The Student Suite CD-ROM, which now accompanies every new copy of the text, contains the latest versions of commercial software for optimization, simulation, and decision analysis.

Schaum's Outline of Operations Research

Schaum's Outline of Operations Research
by Richard Bronson (Author), Govindasami Naadimuthu (Author)

Confusing Textbooks? Missed Lectures? Not Enough Time? Fortunately for you, there's Schaum's Outlines. More than 40 million students have trusted Schaum's to help them succeed in the classroom and on exams. Schaum's is the key to faster learning and higher grades in every subject. Each Outline presents all the essential course information in an easy-to-follow, topic-by-topic format. You also get hundreds of examples, solved problems, and practice exercises to test your skills. This Schaum's Outline gives you Practice problems with full explanations that reinforce knowledge Coverage of the most up-to-date developments in your course field In-depth review of practices and applications Fully compatible with your classroom text, Schaum's highlights all the important facts you need to know....

Operations Research: Applications and Algorithms

Operations Research: Applications and Algorithms
by Wayne L. Winston (Author)

This best-selling introduction to operations research now features the Windows versions of LINDO and LINGO. (LINDO, GINO, and LINGO software packages are also available with the book in Macintosh or DOS versions).Forward thinking in approach, this book emphasizes model-formulation and model-building skills. Winston includes material for a three-semester course, organized into self-contained units that provide flexibility in selecting material.Requiring a background in calculus, linear algebra, and statistics, OPERATIONS RESEARCH offers comprehensive coverage for applications-oriented courses in linear or mathematical programming and stochastic and probabilistic models and processes at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Operations Research: A Model-Based Approach (Springer Texts in Business and Economics)

Operations Research: A Model-Based Approach (Springer Texts in Business and Economics)
by H. A. Eiselt (Author), Carl-Louis Sandblom (Author)

The book covers the standard models and techniques used in decision making in organizations. The main emphasis of the book is on modeling business-related scenarios and the generation of decision alternatives. Fully solved examples from many areas are used to illustrate the main concepts without getting bogged down in technical details. The book presents an approach to operations research that is heavily based on modeling and makes extensive use of sensitivity analyses. It is a result of many years of combined teaching experience of the authors. The second edition adds new material on multicriteria optimization, postman problems, Lagrangian relaxation, cutting planes, machine scheduling, and Markov chains. Support material is found on a free website and includes some algorithms,...

Introduction to Operations Research with Student Access Card

Introduction to Operations Research with Student Access Card
by Frederick S. Hillier (Author), Gerald J. Lieberman (Author)

For over four decades, Introduction to Operations Research by Frederick Hillier has been the classic text on operations research. While building on the classic strengths of the text, the author continues to find new ways to make the text current and relevant to students. One way is by incorporating a wealth of state-of-the-art, user-friendly software and more coverage of business applications than ever before. The hallmark features of this edition include clear and comprehensive coverage of fundamentals, an extensive set of interesting problems and cases, and state-of-the-practice operations research software used in conjunction with examples from the text. The ninth edition introduces a new partnership with the Institute for Operations Research and Management (INFORMS). These two...

Optimization in Operations Research

Optimization in Operations Research
by Ronald L. Rardin (Author)

This book is specifically designed to change the way deterministic optimization is taught to introductory students. Toward this end, it exposes students to the broad scope of the topic, reinforces the basic principles, sparks students' enthusiasm about the field, provides tools of immediate relevance and develops the skills necessary to use those tools.

Mathematics for Operations Research (Dover Books on Mathematics)

Mathematics for Operations Research (Dover Books on Mathematics)
by W. H. Marlow (Author)

This practical, applications-oriented text demonstrates the key role of mathematics in optimization and linear systems. It explains effective procedures for performing mathematical tasks that arise in many fields, including operations research, engineering, systems sciences, statistics, and economics.
Readers will learn how to resolve linear independence and find null spaces and factors of matrices, determine existence of restricted solutions to linear equations and inequalities, and resolve definiteness of Hermitian and real symmetric matrices by Gaussian pivoting. Additional topics include how to diagonalize—or "nearly" diagonalize—square matrices, differentiate vectors and matrices by the chain rule, solve systems of differential and difference equations, and other subjects....

Operations Research Models and Methods

Operations Research Models and Methods
by Paul A. Jensen (Author), Jonathan F. Bard (Author)

In a rapidly developing field like Operations Research, its easy to get overwhelmed by the variety of topics and analytic techniques. Paul Jensen and Jonathan Bard help you master the expensive field by focusing on the fundamental models and methodologies underlying the practice of Operations Research.Bridging the gap between theory and practice, the author presents the quantitative tools and models most important to understanding modern operations research. You'll come to appreciate the power of OR techniques in solving real-world problems and applications in your own field. You'll learn how to translate complex situations into mathematical models, solve models and turn models into solutions. This text is designed to bridge the gap between theory and practice by presenting the...

Operations Research

Operations Research
by PHI Learning Private Limited

This comprehensive book deals with the theoretical aspects of operations research, and explains the concepts with practical examples. It begins by focusing on the need and prerequisites of operations research and moves on to discuss topics such as linear programming, integer programming, nonlinear programming, assignment problems, and inventory models in sufficient detail.
Besides, this text also explains how to achieve different goals in the order of priority to optimize the objective function, various criteria of decision making under certainty, uncertainty and risk, and different techniques of analyzing the time involved in completing the project and the related cost.

© 2014