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Wharton Prof. Eric Bradlow: 'GPS Meets the Supermarket'

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Consider the life of a traveling salesman: always on the move, a different client every day, trying to stay on schedule. Is there a retailing lesson to be learned here?

The Wharton Club of Northern California is pleased to present Wharton Marketing Professor Eric Bradlow in an interactive conference call!

Consider the life of a traveling salesman: always on the move, a different client every day, trying to stay on schedule. Is there a retailing lesson to be learned from that experience?

Wharton marketing researchers believe there is. They use a concept known as the "Traveling Salesman Problem" to study the behavior of grocery shoppers. The TSP, as it's called in operations research, involves solving a fundamental question: If a salesman has to visit a number of cities, what is the shortest route he can take to cover all his stops and then return home?

Grocery shoppers face the same challenge as they go about collecting milk, bread, cookies, or other things on their list, according to Wharton marketing professor Peter S. Fader. "The TSP closely resembles the problem faced by a typical grocery shopper who plans to purchase a certain list of items in the grocery store," Fader and his research colleagues--Wharton marketing professor Eric Bradlow and doctoral student Sam Hui--write in a new paper titled, "The Traveling Salesman Goes Grocery Shopping: The Systematic Inefficiencies of Grocery Paths." For the shopper, the researchers write, "the TSP offers an 'optimal' path, which connects the entrance, all the products that she purchases and the checkout counter."

Join the Wharton Club of Northern California at noon on Friday, May 11th as Prof. Bradlow discusses the learnings his colleagues and he have gained from their research.

This talk is the next in a new event series designed to allow Wharton professors to share their thoughts on current topics and keep Wharton alumni up to date on the biggest trends in various industries. Our conference call--modeled after the analyst calls that investment banks do with their investors--will be part lecture (the first 15-20 minutes) followed by a Q&A session and a lively discussion with Prof. Bradlow.

Register Online

When: Friday, May 11th, 2007
Time: 12:00pm west coast time
Where: Via Conference Call (Dial-in and pass code to be provided the day before the event by e-mail.)
Registration: No charge for current WCNC members. WCNC Members only for this event. (Note: although there is no event registration fee for WCNC members, "seating" will be limited at this event--please register only if you are confident you'll be able to attend.)

About Professor Bradlow
Professor Eric T. Bradlow is the K.P. Chao Professor and Academic Director of the Wharton Small Business Development Center. An applied statistician, Professor Bradlow uses high-powered statistical models to solve problems on everything from Internet search engines to product assortment issues. Specifically, his research interests include Bayesian modeling, statistical computing, and developing new methodology for unique data structures with application to business problems.

Eric was recently named a fellow of the American Statistical Association, is past chair of the American Statistical Association Section on Statistics in Marketing, is a statistical fellow of Bell Labs, and was named DuPont Corporation's best young researcher while working there in 1992.

A prolific scholar, Professor Bradlow's research has been published in top-tier academic journals such as the Journal of the American Statistical Association, Psychometrika, Statistica Sinica, Chance, Marketing Science, Management Science, and Journal of Marketing Research. He also serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics, the Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, Marketing Science and Psychometrika and is on the Editorial Boards of Marketing Letters, Marketing Science, Journal of Marketing Research, Quantitative Marketing and Economics, and the Quarterly Journal of Electronic Commerce.

Professor Bradlow has won numerous teaching awards at Wharton, including the MBA Core Curriculum teaching award, the Miller-Sherrerd MBA Core Teaching award and the Excellence in Teaching Award. His teaching interests include courses in Statistics, Marketing Research, Marketing Management and PHD Data Analysis, as well as Essentials of Marketing for Wharton's Executive MBA program.

Professor Bradlow earned his PhD and Master's degrees in Mathematical Statistics from Harvard University and his BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

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