Class Projects for IEOR 6707, Fall 2004
Each student will do a class project, which will
culminate in both a written report, due at the end of the term,
and an oral presentation. The emphasis will be on both original insight
and effective communication.
Students have a wide latitude in the choice of
the project. It should be new work, not based on a project
for a previous course. Each student should turn in a brief
(on one-page) description of the intended project in class
on October 12. It would be good to informally discuss candidate
projects with me before that time.
Read and critically discuss a recent research paper (or papers)
on contact centers. The report should summarize the paper, but
go beyond that. The critical discussion could involve
consulting related papers, performing a simulation experiment
or doing new mathematical analysis. For example, Assaf Zeevi has recently written two interesting papers:
J. M. Harrison and A. Zeevi,
A Method for Staffing Large Call Centers Based on Stochastic Fluid Models.
A. Bassamboo, J. M. Harrison and A. Zeevi,
Design and Control of a Large Call Center: Asymptotic Analysis of an LP-Based Method.
Locate and investigate an operating contact center.
Do a statistical analysis of contact-center data.
For example, see
Avi Mandelbaum's bank call-center data.
Do a simulation study, e.g., of alternative routing strategies
for skill-based routing. For example, it may be possible to work with the simulation used
in the paper
A Staffing Algorithm for Call Centers with Skill-Based Routing written by Rodney Wallace
and the instructor.
Investigate contact centers in a particular industry, such
as banking and financial services.
Investigate human factors in contact centers.
Investigate models to analyze customer impatience
in invisible queues. For example see
Avi Mandelbaum's papers:
A. Mandelbaum and N. Shimkin,
A model for rational abandonments from invisible
queues. Queueing Systems 36 (2000) 141-173.
E. Zohar, A. Mandelbaum and N. Shimkin,
Adaptive behavior of impatient customers in tele-queues:
theory and empirical support. Management Science
48 (2002) 566-583.
Survey mathematical programming approaches to agent
Investigate special problems in call centers for emergency
services (911 call centers). For example, see
Andrew Ross's 911 links.
Investigate alternative ways to do demand forecasting.
Investigate methods to do real-time prediction and control
of congestion in contact centers. For example, see my papers:
N. G. Duffield and WW,
Control and Recovery from Rare Congestion Events
in a Large Multi-Server System.
Queueing Systems 26 (1997) 69-104
Predicting Queueing Delays.
Management Science 45 (6) (1999) 870-888.
Dynamic Staffing in a Telephone Call Center Aiming
to Immediately Answer All Calls.
Operations Research Letters 24 (1999) 205-212.
Investigate ways to approximately characterize the variability
of non-Poisson stationary arrival (point) processes.
For example, see my papers:
Approximating a Point Process by a Renewal Process:
The View Through a Queue, An Indirect Approach.
Management Science 27 (6) (1981) 619-636.
Approximating a Point Process by a Renewal Process: Two Basic Methods.
Operations Research 30 (1)
Queue Tests for Renewal Processes.
Operations Research Letters
2 (1983) 7-12.
K. Sriram and WW,
Characterizing Superposition Arrival Processes in Packet Multiplexers
for Voice and Data.
IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications,
SAC-4 (6) (1986) 833-846.
K. W. Fendick and WW,
Measurements and Approximations to Describe the Offered Traffic
and Predict the Average Workload in a Single-Server Queue.
Proceedings of the IEEE,
77 (1) (1989) 171-194.
(Reprinted in Stochastic Analysis of Computer and
Communication Systems (ed. H. Takagi),
North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1990, pp. 3-56.)
K. W. Fendick, V. R. Saksena and WW,
Dependence in Packet Queues.
IEEE Transactions on Communications,
vol. 37, No. 11, 1989, pp. 1173-1183.
Investigate ways to treat time-dependent arrival processes in
contact centers. For example, see my papers:
O. B. Jennings, A. Mandelbaum, W. A. Massey and WW,
Server Staffing to Meet Time-Varying Demand.
42 (10) (1996) 1383-1394
W. A. Massey, G. A. Parker and WW,
Estimating the Parameters of a Nonhomogeneous
Poisson Process with Linear Rate.
Telecommunication Systems 5 (1996) 361-388
W. A. Massey and WW,
Peak Congestion in Multi-Server Service Systems with
Slowly Varying Arrival Rates.
Queueing Systems 25 (1997) 157-172
Investigate models for multimedia in contact centers.
For example, see my paper:
Using Different Reponse-Time Requirements to Smooth
Time-Varying Demand for Service.
Operations Research Letters 24 (1-2)
Investigate customer retrials.
Investigate models for hiring and training of
customer service representatives.