Chair of Operations, Economics & Strategy

The mission of OES within the MTEI is to conduct world-class research and teaching at the intersection of operations, economics and strategy, as it relates to organizations and their interactions.

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© 2022 EPFL

New Method of Machine Learning with Interpretability Constraints

— Dr. Michael Mark and Prof. Thomas Weber’s most recent paper, on “Optimal Recovery of Unsecured Debt via Interpretable Machine Learning,” published in Machine Learning with Applications, develops a method to incorporate domain knowledge directly into a reinforcement-learning agent. The new tool is tested on the problem of credit collections, for which an optimal solution is known, so that the augmented learning performance can be compared to an established benchmark. A key observation is that interpretability in the form of monotonicity constraints may be imposed without significant loss in performance. The paper was also co-authored with Prof. Naveed Chehrazi (Olin Business School) and Huanxi Liu who participated in an Excellence Research Internship at EPFL, hosted by the Chair of Operations, Economics and Strategy, while pursuing his bachelor’s degree at UC San Diego.

Chengzhang Xu, Gauthier Petitfrere, Achraf Abdelhadi, Eva Bouffard, Pierre-Amaury Anton © 2022 EPFL

Intelligent Fitness Mat Wins IEE Smart-Sensor Prototyping Competition

— In the latest edition of Véronique Michaud and Thomas Weber’s graduate course on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Engineering (IEE), nine different teams worked with companies on a prototyping challenge. Under this year’s course theme of “Smart Sensing” companies such as Montblanc, Nestlé, and Vacheron Constantin submitted proposals for collaborative projects, taken up by interdisciplinary student teams and supported by a diverse group of faculty. The winner of this year’s IEE Prize, as judged by a panel of experts, was a product concept developed in collaboration with Sequent, a Swiss startup in the domain of self-charging smart watches. The students’ iMat proposes a sensor-enabled fitness mat with smart user feedback to enable guided exercising.

© 2022 EPFL

Congratulations to Michael Mark for his PhD!

— In January 2022, Michael Mark received his doctorate in Management of Technology with his dissertation on “Self-Exciting Point Processes: Identification and Control” under the supervision of Prof. Thomas Weber. In addition to his advisor, Michael’s examination committee included the founder of the field of self-exciting point processes, Prof. Alan G. Hawkes (Swansea University), as well as Prof. Didier Sornette (ETH Zurich), Prof. Damien Challet (EPFL & CentraleSupélec), and Prof. Daniel Kuhn (EPFL) who presided. Michael’s public defense took place on January 21 at EPFL, in the presence of the EPFL community, together with friends and family.

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