Daily Archives: October 1, 2008


According the an article in the Washington Post,

[E]arly voting, by mail or in person, is becoming more common and is likely to account for one-third of all votes cast in the November elections, up from 14 percent in 2000, predicts Paul Gronke, a researcher with the Early Voting Information Center in Portland, Ore.

I just applied for an absentee ballot to avoid long lines. I also will avoid getting into a car accident on the way to the polls. An excellent ORMS Today article by Alexander S. Belenky and Richard C. Larson addresses the issues relating to voting queues for the curious operations research analyst.

A large number of absentee ballots doesn’t necessarily mean that voting lines will short on Election Day. A report released by American University’s Center for the Study of the American Electorate (CSAE) forecasts that this election may have the second highest turnout ever. (The figures in the report are created with Excel and illustrate why one shouldn’t use Excel for technical reports. Yuck!).

Register to vote.


go cubs and white sox!

For the first time in over 100 years, both the Chicago Cubs and White Sox are in the playoffs. It is exciting.

If you have been following the countdown to the playoffs, you may have noticed the Magic number, the number of games a team must win (or its nearest competitor must lose) in order for the team to make it into the playoffs. At some point, nearly all teams are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. The problem with the Magic Number is it is overly conservative and does not account for a team and its competitors’ schedules. RIOT, a web site at the University of California, Berkeley, addresses these weaknesses using OR. RIOT provides a model that determines play-off race statistics throughout the major league baseball season using optimization techniques. It can determine when a team is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs using a single linear-programming formulation. RIOT was developed by Ilan Adler, Alan L. Erera, Dorit S. Hochbaum and Eli V. Olinick. A paper explains RIOT in detail.

The Numbers Guy wrote more about baseball standings. I wrote about baseball statistics earlier.