Operations Research And Optima
All of Optima's systems managed by Optima's principal, Dr. Kamal Golabi, utilize operations research/management science methodologies.
Dr. Golabi earned a Masters of Science degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research with a minor in Statistics. He then earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles, in Management Science/Operations Research while attaining minors in Mathematics and Economics.
Prior to founding Optima, Inc., Dr. Golabi utilized his desire to apply operations research to practical problems while working for Woodward Clyde Associates and The World Bank. Optima was founded in 1984 to focus on using operations research to optimize issues within network and infrastructure management systems, thereby saving companies and governments money while also protecting the public.
Optimization methods are continuing to replace simplistic ranking methods in an increasing number of industries. At Optima, we pride ourselves on the fact that we have demonstrated the shortcomings of such subjective approaches and designed and developed major infrastructure management systems that have replaced such methods. For example, the bridge management system PONTIS, now used in all 50 states and supported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), replaced a ranking method that had been developed by the FHWA itself, which had been used in every state for many years. The inadequacy of these methods-no matter what weights and what factors are used-are many and are also described in the award-winning article, "PONTIS: A System for Maintenance Optimization and Improvement of US Bridge Network" (Golabi and Shepard, Interfaces 27, pp. 71-88, 1997).
The pioneering pavement management system developed by Golabi in the early 1980s has, over the last 20 years, replaced elementary methods for pavement management in every country that has adopted a nationwide system. The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, which was enacted after the success of the above systems (see "Moving Proposal," R.F. Hagquist, OR/MS Today, pp.18-22, June 1993), requires every state in the United States to replace subjective ranking methods in bridge and pavement management by a system based on prediction and optimization methods that were pioneered by Optima. Our modeling approach has delivered documented cost savings (more than one-third of the maintenance budget and over $100 million for the State of Arizona roadways over a five-year period-see "A Statewide Pavement Management System," Golabi et al., Interfaces 12-6, pp. 5-21, 1982), reduced rehabilitation backlog in bridge networks ($2 billion for the State of California bridge maintenance). In the State of New York our approach has promoted objective analysis and collaborative decision making by regulators and industry in pipeline safety.
Optima's approach and solution methods have won the recognition of our peers as well as our clients. For example, the pavement management work won the 1982 Edelman Prize and PONTIS won honors in 1996 from the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences. The Franz Edelman Prize is the most significant prize of its kind, given annually after a worldwide competition for innovative use of management sciences to produce a high-impact solution for a significant problem. The success of our analytical approach has fundamentally improved roadway and bridge maintenance management in the United States and several other countries, and TUBIS has had the same effect within the gas utilities that have implemented it.
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