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How Data Analytics is being used to Determine the Outcome of National Elections

Sheldon Jacobson, professor of computer scienceSheldon H. Jacobson, Ph.D.
Professor and Director, Simulation and Optimization Laboratory
University of Illinois

October 31st, 2014, 2:30 – 3:30 PM
410 John D. Tickle Engineering Building

Dr. Sheldon H. Jacobson is a Professor and Director of the Simulation and Optimization Laboratory at the University of Illinois.  He has a broad set of basic and applied research interests, including problems related to optimal decision-making, national security, and public health. His research has been disseminated in over 220 journal articles, proceedings papers, and professional articles, including Operations Research, IIE Transactions, INFORMS Journal on Computing, and Transportation Science, among others.  He has been recognized with several national awards, including the Aviation Security Research Award (2002), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2003), the Outstanding IIE Publication Award (2009), and the Award for Technical Innovation in Industrial Engineering (2010, 2013). His research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. He currently serves as the Focused Issue Editor for Operations Engineering and Analytics for IIE Transactions.  He is a Fellow of IIE and INFORMS.

Talk Abstract: In 2014, control of the United States Senate may result in an important factor in the effectiveness of the final two years of the Obama presidency.  Data analytics has become a mainstay of national elections.  This presentation discusses how polling data can be used to provide insights into the outcome of the race for control of the Senate.  A model is discussed that uses polling data for each senate race to create a picture of the outcome of the election. The web site,, showcases the key features of this model.  Results for the election on 4 November are discussed.