University of Miami business professor helps create a successful scheduling method for umpires in Major League Baseball

Aug 03, 2011

Scheduling umpire crews in Major League Baseball (MLB) can be a daunting task. However, Tallys Yunes, assistant professor of management science at the University of Miami School of Business Administration and his collaborators have created a novel solution. The team developed an efficient method to generate high-quality schedules for the MLB.

The study is titled "Scheduling Umpires and the Traveling Umpire Problem" published online ahead of print by the journal Interfaces, a popular outlet for practitioners in the field of Operations Research.

The was developed in 2006 by a team of scholars including Yunes, Michael Trick form Carnegie Mellon University and Hakan Yildiz from Michigan State University. MLB has used the new method in five of the past six seasons. This technique is more effective at respecting the MLB-imposed travel rules and restrictions, explains Yunes.

"We not only reduced the time necessary to create the schedule, we also improved the overall quality of the schedule, in the sense that it better satisfies both the MLB and umpire union rules," Yunes says.

The MLB season lasts six months. During that time, 30 teams play a total of 2,430 games in 27 different cities. The umpires in the league are part of a four-member group called a crew and each umpire handles about 142 games during the season.

Adhering to the myriad of regulations from the league can be difficult. To solve the problem, the team created a mathematical model called the "Traveling Umpire Problem," where given that an umpire crew should not be assigned to a team too often in short succession, and that an umpire crew should be assigned to each team at some time during the season; the task was to minimize the time and distance traveled by the umpires.

The model proved successful in generating a high quality schedule in a short amount of time. Prior to the new computerized method, the schedule was created manually on an Excel spreadsheet by a former umpire. The process would take weeks. Now, it takes just a few days to generate a good schedule.

"If you are the person trying to come up with the answer to this problem, you are limited in the number of solutions that you see," Yunes says. "By using a that gets solved by a computer, we have opened up the universe of possible solutions."

Explore further: Researchers help Boston Marathon organizers plan for 2014 race

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Apr 18, 2014

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Apr 17, 2014

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Clippers and coiners in 16th-century England

In 2017 a new £1 coin will appear in our pockets with a design extremely difficult to forge. In the mid-16th century, Elizabeth I's government came up with a series of measures to deter "divers evil persons" ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...