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EdX: Analytics Edge

Dimitris Bertsimas, Allison O’Hair, PhD ’13Dimitris Bertsimas, Allison O’Hair, PhD ’13

Faculty: Dimitris Bertsimas, Allison O’Hair, PhD ’13

“Providing students from around the world with exposure to the quickly growing area of analytics is incredibly exciting. The virtual classroom conversations and work I anticipate in this course will, I imagine, change my own perspectives on classroom teaching.” – Dimitris Bertsimas

From the Bulletin: In the last decade, the amount of data available to organizations has reached unprecedented levels. Companies and individuals who can use this data together with analytics give themselves an edge over the competition. In this class, we examine real-world examples of how analytics have been used to transform a business or industry. These examples include Moneyball, eHarmony, the 2012 Presidential Election, the Framingham Heart Study, Twitter, IBM Watson, and American Airlines.  Through these examples and many more, we cover the following analytics methods: linear regression, logistic regression, trees, text analytics, clustering, visualization, and optimization. 

Allison O’HairAllison O’Hair


Analytics Edge teaches students how to affect their lives and work using the power of analytics.  In a world that has an increasing amount of data, this class teaches students how to use it most effectively. It’s a class that’s pioneering in scope—not only in terms of subject matter, but also in terms of how many people can participate. Why can it reach such a large audience and what makes it an exceptional MIT Sloan experience? This is the inaugural course that the School will offer through EdX, a nonprofit founded by MIT and Harvard that brings the best of higher education to students around the world. 


Analytics and big data are areas of increasing importance to management. IBM has spent $24 billion in analytics, and many other major global companies are also investing heavily in this area. As data availability explodes across sectors, corporations are looking at how this new information drives business decision making.  By exposing students from around the world,  and from a wide variety of industry sectors, to  Analytics and the edge it creates, the School  anticipates that these students will see how the  course impacts their careers and perhaps lead some  of them to create new analytics-driven businesses.  Finally, and unlike many other classes, Analytics Edge will start with a real-world application and will use real-world data to build models that lead to improved, impactful decision-making in organizations.  


Professor Dimitris Bertsimas, who designed this course together with Allison O’Hair, PhD ’13, explains how his research plays a role in the class:  “We developed analytics-based methods for personalized diabetes management, for designing clinical trials, for asset management and personal finance, and for designing health benefits for companies, among others.” Because this course will cover all these topics and more, students will gain cross-industry perspectives that will enhance conversation in the virtual classroom. 

Dimitris Bertsimas is the Boeing Leaders for Global Operations Professor of Management, Professor of Operations Research, and Co-Director of the Operations Research Center.   

Allison O’Hair, PhD ’13 is Lecturer of Operations Research and Statistics.