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{ Category Archives } History

Own a Ton of Operations Research History

Or perhaps own two tons of Operations Research History (I am not sure how much 70 bankers boxes weigh)!  And not just any history:  this is the mathematics library of George B. Dantzig, available by “private treaty” (i.e.: there is a price;  if you pay it, you get the whole library) from PBA Galleries.  I […]

Operations Research and Business Schools: The Good!

Way back in 1988, I was a fresh Ph.D. out of Georgia Tech doing a postdoc at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications at the University of Minnesota.  While I had plans to spend another postdoc year, likely in Europe (and I ended up doing so, in Germany), I did decide it would be […]

On the Shoulders of Giants

Yesterday I was messing around with The Mathematics Genealogy Project and I learned that Anna Nagurney, among others, is a not-so-distant cousin.  That inspired me to shoot off a couple of emails trying to trace my history farther back. To recap, my advisors were Don Ratliff and John Bartholdi.  John was a student of Don, […]

Hello Cousin!

My father has spent time over the last decade collecting pictures and documents related to our family tree.  I greatly appreciate him doing this, and the result is fascinating.  There is no one really famous in my tree, unless you are a follower of (Canadian) prairie socialism, since I think J.S. Woodsworth is in there, […]

Dead words in operations research

Sometime ago, when writing about Stafford Beer, I wrote: Stafford Beer was one of the founding people in British operational research. He was one of the people who saw operational research in World War II and adapted those methods to work in practice, in his case at United Steel, followed by some consulting companies. He […]

Operations Research Running Countries

In the wake of the new Japanese Prime Minister having a doctorate in operations research, David Curran (iamreddave on twitter) pointed out that there was a previous effort of having a country run by operations research (or operational research, in this case). Stafford Beer was one of the founding people in British operational research. He […]

Are USENET groups irrelevant?

Long before the web, there was Usenet, an internationally distributed discussion system.  Through Usenet, people could discuss topics of interest, with topics  organized in a shallow tree structure.  In the pre-web days, it was exciting to talk to people around the world, back at a time where even having an email address was not to […]

A Stonewall Connection to Operational Research

My parents grew up on farms outside a then-small (now medium) sized town in Manitoba named Stonewall. For a period in the early 1900s, a boy named Charles Goodeve lived in Stonewall. He lived there for about 10 years, before his family moved to Winnipeg. There is an article in the Stonewall Argus (the Gordon […]

Silly Operations Researchers

There is a thread on alt.folklore.urban that begins with the classic OR story of looking for places to increase shielding on planes in WWII: analysis of where holes were on planes was somewhat skewed by being limited to those that returned. This then goes on to other analyses: first a researcher concludes, based on prison […]