Sandjai Bhulai

Sandjai Bhulai
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam | VU · Mathematics Department

Professor

About

136
Publications
31,930
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1,296
Citations
Introduction
Sandjai Bhulai is a ​full professor of Business Analytics at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He studied "Mathematics" and "Business Mathematics and Informatics", and obtained a Ph.D.​ on Markov decision processes for the control of complex, high-dimensional systems. He is a ​co-founder of the Amsterdam Center for Business Analytics (ACBA), co-founder of the postgraduate program​ Business Analytics / Data Science. Sandjai's research is on the interface of mathematics, computer science, and operations management. His specialization is in decision making under uncertainty, optimization, data science, and business analytics. His current research projects focus on HR analytics, social media analytics, predictive analytics, dynamic pricing, and planning and scheduling in complex systems.

Publications

Publications (136)
Article
Vehicle damages are increasingly becoming a liability for shared mobility services. The large number of handovers between drivers demands for an accurate and fast inspection system, which locates small damages and classifies these into the correct damage category. To address this, a damage detection model is developed to locate vehicle damages and...
Article
Full-text available
Single-view computer vision models for vehicle damage inspection often suffer from strong light reflections. To resolve this, multiple images under various viewpoints can be used. However, multiple views increase the complexity as multi-view training data, specialized models, and damage re-identification over different views are required. In additi...
Article
Objectives The long waiting times for nursing homes can be reduced by applying advanced waiting-line management. In this article, we implement a preference-based allocation model for older adults to nursing homes, evaluate the performance in a simulation setting for 2 case studies, and discuss the implementation in practice. Design Simulation stud...
Preprint
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Novel prediction methods should always be compared to a baseline to know how well they perform. Without this frame of reference, the performance score of a model is basically meaningless. What does it mean when a model achieves an $F_1$ of 0.8 on a test set? A proper baseline is needed to evaluate the `goodness' of a performance score. Comparing wi...
Preprint
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Measuring and quantifying dependencies between random variables (RV's) can give critical insights into a data-set. Typical questions are: `Do underlying relationships exist?', `Are some variables redundant?', and `Is some target variable $Y$ highly or weakly dependent on variable $X$?' Interestingly, despite the evident need for a general-purpose m...
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Background Preventatives measures to combat the spread of COVID− 19 have introduced social isolation, loneliness and financial stress. This study aims to identify whether the COVID-19 pandemic is related to changes in suicide-related problems for help seekers on a suicide prevention helpline. Methods A retrospective cohort study was conducted usin...
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Individuals with autism increasingly enroll in universities, but researchers know little about how their study progresses over time towards degree completion. This exploratory population study uses structural equation modeling to examine patterns in study progression and degree completion of bachelor’s students with autism spectrum disorder ( n = 1...
Article
Emergency response fleets often have to simultaneously perform two types of tasks: (1) urgent tasks requiring immediate action, and (2) non-urgent preventive maintenance tasks that can be scheduled upfront. In Huizing et al. (2020), Huizing et al. proposed the Median Routing Problem (MRP) to optimally schedule agents to a given set of non-urgent ta...
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The Covid-19 pandemic has brought forth a major landscape shock in the mobility sector. Due to its recentness, researchers have just started studying and understanding the implications of this crisis on mobility. We contribute by combining mobility data from various sources to bring a novel angle to understanding mobility patterns during Covid-19....
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Objectives We investigate the spatio-temporal variation of monthly residential burglary frequencies across neighborhoods as a function of crime generators, street network features and temporally and spatially lagged burglary frequencies. In addition, we evaluate the performance of the model as a forecasting tool.Methods We analyze 48 months of poli...
Preprint
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This paper provides a review of the job recommender system (JRS) literature published in the past decade (2011-2021). Compared to previous literature reviews, we put more emphasis on contributions that incorporate the temporal and reciprocal nature of job recommendations. Previous studies on JRS suggest that taking such views into account in the de...
Preprint
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Given the vital importance of search engines to find digital information, there has been much scientific attention on how users interact with search engines, and how such behavior can be modeled. Many models on user - search engine interaction, which in the literature are known as click models, come in the form of Dynamic Bayesian Networks. Althoug...
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Background Suicide is a complex issue. Due to the relative rarity of the event, studies into risk factors are regularly limited by sample size or biased samples. The aims of the study were to find risk factors for suicide that are robust to intercorrelation, and which were based on a large and unbiased sample. Methods Using a training set of 5854...
Article
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The size of container ships and the number of containers being transshipped at container terminals have steadily increased over the years. Consequently, it is important to make efficient use of the hinterland capacity. A concept that is used to do this is synchromodal transportation, in which at the very last moment the mode of transportation for a...
Preprint
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Over the past decade, the advent of cybercrime has accelarated the research on cybersecurity. However, the deployment of intrusion detection methods falls short. One of the reasons for this is the lack of realistic evaluation datasets, which makes it a challenge to develop techniques and compare them. This is caused by the large amounts of effort i...
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Background The identification of risk factors for adverse outcomes and prolonged intensive care unit (ICU) stay in COVID-19 patients is essential for prognostication, determining treatment intensity, and resource allocation. Previous studies have determined risk factors on admission only, and included a limited number of predictors. Therefore, usin...
Article
In this study, the classification of white cabbage seedling images is modeled with convolutional neural networks. We focus on a dataset that tracks the seedling growth over a period of 14 days, where photos were taken at four specific moments. The dataset contains 13,200 individual seedlings with corresponding labels and was retrieved from Bejo, a...
Conference Paper
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The “almost-squares in almost-squares” (Asqas) problem is a rectangle packing problem in which a series of almostsquares (rectangles of dimensions n×(n+ 1)) needs to be placed inside an almost-square frame without open areas or overlaps. Asqas-34, consisting of almost-squares 1 × 2, 2 × 3 ... 34 × 35, remains unsolved. This paper shows Asqas-34 is...
Preprint
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We propose a new model to assess the mastery level of a given skill efficiently. The model, called Bayesian Adaptive Mastery Assessment (BAMA), uses information on the accuracy and the response time of the answers given and infers the mastery at every step of the assessment. BAMA balances the length of the assessment and the certainty of the master...
Preprint
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We introduce Invertible Dense Networks (i-DenseNets), a more parameter efficient alternative to Residual Flows. The method relies on an analysis of the Lipschitz continuity of the concatenation in DenseNets, where we enforce invertibility of the network by satisfying the Lipschitz constant. We extend this method by proposing a learnable concatenati...
Article
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Urban planning can benefit tremendously from a better understanding of where, when, why, and how people travel. Through advances in technology, detailed data on the travel behavior of individuals has become available. This data can be leveraged to understand why one prefers one mode of transportation over another one. In this paper, we analyze a un...
Preprint
Full-text available
We introduce Invertible Dense Networks (i-DenseNets), a more parameter efficient alternative to Residual Flows. The method relies on an analysis of the Lipschitz continuity of the concatenation in DenseNets, where we enforce the invertibility of the network by satisfying the Lipschitz constraint. Additionally, we extend this method by proposing a l...
Article
To pick up a container from a container terminal, other containers may need to be relocated to other positions. In practice, these relocation moves are usually done when it is busy at a terminal. However, if the crane is idle for some amount of time, it may be more efficient to execute some pre-processing moves to reduce the number of future reloca...
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Background: Autistic individuals' enrollment in universities is increasing, but we know little about their study progress over time. Many of them have poor degree completion in comparison to students with other disabilities. However, longitudinal studies on study progression over time of autistic students (AS) in comparison to their peers are absen...
Article
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In 2000 to 2016 the highest number of suicides among Dutch youths under 20 in any given year was 58 in 2013. In 2017 this number increased to 81 youth suicides. To get more insight in what types of youths died by suicide, particularly in recent years (2013–2017) we looked at micro-data of Statistics Netherlands and counted suicides among youths til...
Article
This paper studies a setting in emergency logistics where emergency responders must also perform a set of known, non-emergency jobs in the network when there are no active emergencies going on. These jobs typically have a preventive function, and allow the responders to use their idle time much more productively than in the current standard. When a...
Article
This paper introduces a general model of a single-lane roundabout, represented as a circular lattice that consists of L cells, with Markovian traffic dynamics. Vehicles enter the roundabout via on-ramp queues that have stochastic arrival processes, remain on the roundabout a random number of cells, and depart via off-ramps. Importantly, the model d...
Article
Full-text available
Urban planning can benefit tremendously from a better understanding of where, when, why, and how people travel. Through advances in technology, detailed data on the travel behavior of individuals has become available. This data can be leveraged to understand why one prefers one mode of transportation over another one. In this paper, we analyze a un...
Article
In container terminals, containers are often moved to other stacks in order to access containers that need to leave the terminal earlier. We propose a new optimization model in which the containers can be moved in two different phases: a pre-processing and a relocation phase. To solve this problem, we develop an optimal branch-and-bound algorithm....
Article
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The number of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) entering Universities is growing. Recent studies show an increased understanding of students with ASD in higher education. Yet, current research generally relies on small samples, lacks information about student characteristics prior to enrollment, and does not compare students with ASD to...
Article
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Large-scale data about learners' behavior are being generated at high speed on various online learning platforms. Knowledge Tracing (KT) is a family of machine learning sequence models that use these data to identify the likelihood of future learning performance. KT models hold great potential for the online education industry by enabling the devel...
Chapter
Online fraud poses a relatively new threat to the revenues of companies. A way to detect and prevent fraudulent behavior is with the use of specific machine learning (ML) techniques. These anomaly detection techniques have been thoroughly studied, but the level of employment is not as high. The airline industry suffers from fraud by parties such as...
Preprint
This paper introduces a general model of a single-lane roundabout, represented as a circular lattice that consists of $L$ cells, with Markovian traffic dynamics. Vehicles enter the roundabout via on-ramp queues that have stochastic arrival processes, remain on the roundabout a random number of cells, and depart via off-ramps. Importantly, the model...
Article
Full-text available
In hinterland container transportation the use of barges is getting more and more important. We propose a real‐life operational planning problem model from an inland terminal operating company, in which the number of containers shipped per barge is maximized and the number of terminals visited per barge is minimized. This problem is solved with an...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Large-scale data about learners' behavior are being generated at high speed on various online learning platforms. Knowledge Tracing (KT) is a family of machine learning sequence models that are capable of using these data efficiently with the objective to identify the likelihood of future learning performance. This study provides an overview of KT...
Article
Full-text available
We consider a K-competing queues system with the additional feature of customer abandonment. Without abandonment, it is optimal to allocate the server to a queue according to the \(c \mu \)-rule. To derive a similar rule for the system with abandonment, we model the system as a continuous-time Markov decision process. Due to impatience, the Markov...
Article
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In this paper, we develop a novel role for the initial function $v_0$ in the Value Iteration algorithm. In case the optimal policy of a countable state Markovian queueing control problem has a threshold or switching curve structure, we conjecture, that one can tune the choice of $v_0$ to generate monotonic sequences of $n$-stage threshold or switch...
Article
Various systems across a broad range of applications contain tandem queues. Strong dependence between the servers has proven to make such networks complicated and difficult to study. Exact analysis is rarely computationally tractable and sometimes not even possible. Nevertheless, as it is most often the case in reality, there are costs associated w...
Article
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In the paper, the conception of Enterprise Information Portal (EIP) as an enduser interface of Simulation and Modeling System for Business (SMS-B) is presented. The system is a proposition of Business Intelligence education platform. EIP portals are also a base for Enterprise Integration Platform (EIP II) introduction in information and communicati...
Article
In life-threatening emergency situations in which every second counts, the timely arrival of an ambulance can make the difference between survival and death. In practice, the response-time targets, defined as the maximum time between the moment an incoming emergency call is received the moment when onsite medical aid is provided, are often not met....
Article
This paper develops and tests a framework for the data-driven scheduling of outbound calls made by debt collectors. These phone calls are used to persuade debtors to settle their debt, or to negotiate payment arrangements in case debtors are willing, but unable to repay. We determine on a daily basis which debtors should be called to maximize the a...
Article
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We address the problem of ambulance dispatching, in which we must decide which ambulance to send to an incident in real time. In practice, it is commonly believed that the ‘closest idle ambulance’ rule is near-optimal and it is used throughout most literature. In this paper, we present alternatives to the classical closest idle ambulance rule. Most...
Article
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Providers of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are typically concerned with keeping response times short. A powerful means to ensure this, is to dynamically redistribute the ambulances over the region, depending on the current state of the system. In this paper, we provide new insight into how to optimally (re)distribute ambulances. We study the imp...
Conference Paper
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We investigate the connectivity within different incre-mental sets of Japanese Kanji characters. Individual characters constitute the vertices in the network, components shared between them provide their edges. We find the resulting networks to have a high clustering coefficient and a low average path length, characterizing them as small worlds. We...
Article
Various types of systems across a broad range of disciplines contain tandem queues with nested sessions. Strong dependence between the servers has proved to make such networks complicated and difficult to study. Exact analysis is in most of the cases intractable. Moreover, even when performance metrics such as the saturation throughput and the util...
Article
Full-text available
We study the Dynamic Ambulance Management (DAM) problem in which one tries to retain the ability to respond to possible future requests quickly when ambulances become busy. To this end, we need models for relocation actions for idle ambulances that incorporate different performance measures related to response times. We focus on rural regions with...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter considers the ambulance dispatch problem, in which one must decide which ambulance to send to an incident in real time. In practice as well as in literature, it is commonly believed that the closest idle ambulance is the best choice. This chapter describes alternatives to the classical closest idle ambulance rule. Our first method is b...
Chapter
The application of Markov decision theory to the control of queueing systems often leads to models with enormous state spaces. Hence, direct computation of optimal policies with standard techniques and algorithms is almost impossible for most practical models. A convenient technique to overcome this issue is to use one-step policy improvement. For...
Chapter
We consider a multi-period staffing problem of a single-skill call center. The call center is modeled as a multi-server queue in which the staffing levels can be changed only at specific moments in time. The objective is to set the staffing levels such that a service level constraint is met in the presence of time-varying arrival rates. We develop...
Article
Governments deal with increasing health care demand and costs, while budgets are tightened. At the same time, ambulance providers are expected to deliver high-quality service at affordable cost. Maximum reliability and minimal availability models guarantee a minimal performance level at each demand point, in contrast to the majority of facility loc...
Article
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In pre-hospital health care the call center plays an important role in the coordination of emergency medical services (EMS). An EMS call center handles inbound requests for EMS and dispatches an ambulance if necessary. The time needed for triage and dispatch is part of the total response time to the request, which, in turn, is a key performance ind...
Article
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In this paper, we consider an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system with two types of medical response units: Rapid Responder Ambulances (RRAs) and Regular Transport Ambulances (RTAs). The key difference between both is that RRAs are faster, but they lack the ability to transport a patient to the hospital. To maintain the ability to respond to em...
Article
In this paper we consider the problem of pricing multiple differentiated products. This is challenging as a price change in one product, not only changes the demand of that particular product, but also the demand for the other products. To address this problem, customer choice models have recently been introduced as these are capable of describing...
Conference Paper
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Knowing how and when trends are formed is a frequently visited research goal. In our work, we focus on the progression of trends through (social) networks. We use a random graph (RG) model to mimic the progression of a trend through the network. The context of the trend is not included in our model. We show that every state of the RG model maps to...
Article
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In this paper, we study the efficacy of the official ranking for international football teams compiled by FIFA, the body governing football competition around the globe. We present strategies for improving a team's position in the ranking. By combining several statistical techniques, we derive an objective function in a decision problem of optimal...
Article
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Dynamic Ambulance Management (DAM) is generally believed to provide means to enhance the response-time performance of emergency medical service providers. The implementation of DAM algorithms leads to additional movements of ambulance vehicles compared to the reactive paradigm, where ambulances depart from the base station when an incident is repor...