Countless factors have contributed to the success of the airline and travel industry. One factor that nears the top of the list is operations research (OR). OR takes complex business problems, breaks them down into basic components, and solves them in defined steps through mathematical analysis.  Since Operations Research is the driving force behind some of the most successful airlines, Sabre has a dedicated AirVision OR team in Bangalore.

Recently, many OR and Analytics practitioners in Bangalore — across different companies — have come together and started the OR Talk Series. They have teamed up with ORSI (Operations Research Society of India) Bangalore Chapter to share knowledge on common challenges and how they overcome them.

Sabre Bangalore OR Talk Series

Each month, the group gathers at a host company to discuss an OR topic or application. They also discuss theoretical and practical advances in the field of OR and Analytics. The discussions foster learning because everyone gets exposure to how OR problems are being addressed in other domains and can draw parallels to their own domain.

The January OR Talk Series at Sabre featured the following topics and speakers:

Talk 1: Introduction to Machine Learning – This talk focused on concepts and applications of machine learning and was intended for those with little to no exposure to machine learning and data mining. Several practical examples were used to help provide basic concepts used in machine learning. In addition, details of a real-life application of text (book) digitalization were shown to show how machine learning is being used to covert Hindi and regional books in digital form. This uses an innovative OCR-reCAPTCHA technique to take human inputs to train OCR system using machine learning.

This session was presented by Ashish Arora, a software developer who works on complex optimization problems at OPTYM. Ashish holds a BTech in Electronics and Electrical Engineering from IIT Guwahati, where he wrote his thesis on machine learning and image processing. He recently completed an in-class certification on Big Data Analytics and Optimization from INSOFE.

Talk 2: Analyzing intermodal competition between high-speed rail and conventional transport systems: A game-theoretic approach

The session explored the need for more efficient intercity transportation in India due to rapid urbanization, growing economy and increasing per capita income.  The Government of India is exploring the impact of introducing a high-speed rail (HSR) system as a sustainable mode of transportation.  There is a need to develop a scientific tool to support policy-making by analyzing the financial viability of the newly introduced HSR system under the competition with various existing modes of intercity transportation. To analyze this kind of competitive scenario in allied fields, a game-theoretic approach is extensively being used.

This session was presented by Gunjan Narulkar and Varun Raturi. Gunjan is an OR enthusiast who is working as a Data Scientist at a startup known as Data Semantics.  He completed his post-grad work at the Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Science. Prior to this, he has worked with Tesco and IBM for almost six years in IT. Varun Raturi is senior research scholar at Transportation and Highway Engineering, Indian Institute of Science. He earned a gold medal for his batch in MTech at Indian Institute of Science.

The Sabre Bangalore team plans to host another similar event later this year.