University of Texas Navigation

I am an associate professor and Area Coordinator in the Graduate Program in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering (ORIE) at The University of Texas at Austin (CV).  I also hold a courtesy appointment in the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering (PGE). In addition to these appointments, I am a fellow in the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy (CIEEP) and the Center for Petroleum Asset Risk Management (CPARM). I hold MS and PhD degrees in Engineering-Economic Systems from Stanford University. Before returning to academia, I was a senior engagement manager and co-director of client education for Strategic Decisions Group, where I remain on the Board of Directors.

My research and teaching interests are broadly focused in the area of decision making under uncertainty, known as decision analysis. My primary application area is in the energy arena. My research has been funded by the NSF, DOE, NETL, and private companies. My work has been featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Bloomberg, National Public Radio, and in dozens of local and regional media sources. In addition, this work is featured in the documentary Cool It. This work was part of the Copenhagen Consensus on Climate Project and was selected by a panel of economists, including four Nobel Laureates, as the best response to climate change. You can learn more here. Here is my Internet Movie Database page.

What is Decision Analysis?
Decision analysis (DA) is a theory and set of methodologies to help individuals and organizations make high-quality decisions in complex and uncertain environments. DA was developed in mid-1960s by a collection of researchers and practitioners broadly associated with Stanford University, Harvard University and, to some extent, MIT. Decision analysts work in variety of industries but tend to specialize in large one-of-a-kind decisions involving significant capital (i.e., investments exceeding US$1 billion) and significant uncertainty and risk.

If you want to learn more, watch this short video by the Executive Vice-Chairman of Chevron regarding their use of decision analysis. You might also be interested in this Stanford/UT
webinar featuring my presentation on Decision Quality.

How Can I Obtain a Degree in Decision Analysis?
Within the ORIE program we offer both MS and PhD Concentrations in Decision Analysis. Please see these links for information regarding the MS and PhD programs. Both programs include the ability to take several electives, which are listed here. If you are not an ORIE student, you may obtain a Certificate in Decision Analysis by following the program detailed here.

Baseball Research
You may have seen my research referenced by Evan Gattis (Atlanta Braves) in the June 10, 2013, edition of Sports Illustrated.

Back in 1994-1995, while in graduate school, I developed a pitch/hit charting software program called ChartMine. ChartMine was used by over 300 colleges, including one-third of Division 1 programs, and ESPN. As part of this effort, I wrote several white papers regarding baseball statistics and strategy. I still receive emails asking for this work, so I am posting a few of the papers below.
  • On the Importance of Throwing Strikes. PDF
  • STATS Inc, and the Fallacy of Batting Average by Count. PDF
  • How well do you know baseball? PDF
  • Batting Average by Count and Pitch Type. SABR Article. PDF
  • Why it is so Hard to Hit 400. SABR Article. PDF
  • Teaching Decision Making with Baseball Examples. PDF
  • On the Decision to Take a Pitch. PDF
If you are interested in decision making and baseball, watch this webinar I gave as part of Stanford's Strategic Decision and Risk Management program.
The Weather Channel Research
Do you watch The Weather Channel and wonder how accurate their precipitation forecasts are? This paper summarizes my study of over 13 million precipitation forecasts that was featured in Nate Silver's book The Signal and the Noise. You can use the tables I include below to convert The Weather Channel's precipitation forecasts into observed frequencies. To use the tables you simply look up the forecasted probability of precipitation (PoP) given by The Weather Channel on the horizontal axis and then read down the rows to adjust for the length of forecast. For example, a 5-day lead-time is a forecast for 5 days from today.

Central (KY, IL, IN, MO, OH, TN, and WV): Table
East North Central (IA, MI, MN, and WI): Table
Northeast (CT, DE, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, and NY): Table
South (AK, LA, KS, MS, OK, and TX): Table
Southeast (AL, FL, GA, NC, SC, and VA): Table
Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, and UT): Table
West (CA and NV): Table
West North Central (MT, NE, ND, SD, and WY): Table
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