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{ Category Archives } Applications

Optimal Cleaning Paths

Yesterday I twittered: Doing too much operations research. Spent more time figuring out optimal mowing pattern than mowing lawn. Today, I came across a picture of a Roomba’s path to clean the floor of an l-shaped room (through a number of sites, but I think I am referring to the original). I think I am […]

2009 Edelman Award winner is…

Hewlett Packard, for their product portfolio management systems. As a judge, I don’t want to say anything beyond saying I think the HP team makes an outstanding Edelman Award winner. Congratulations to them and all of the other finalists.

Blogging for the INFORMS Practice Meeting

I am one of a stable of guest bloggers for the INFORMS Practice Meeting. Rather than double post, I’ll move over to that blog for a few days (unless I have something to say that isn’t appropriate for an INFORMS blog), with pointers from here. My first entry there: Tough Choices!, where I complain about […]

Back at the IMA

I am at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications at the University of Minnesota.  This brings back very fond memories.  I was a postdoc here 21 years ago at the start of my career when they had a Special Year on Applied Combinatorics.  As I recall there were 10 postdocs that year:  nine combinatorialists […]

Have you Registered for INFORMS Practice?

The INFORMS Practice Conference is one of my favorite conferences. It is here that I get most of my stories for my classes and get inspired about the areas I work in. I also get inspired about Operations Research in general: it is a great field, and this conference shows the wonderful things we do. […]

The Edelmans are here!

The January-February 2009 issue of Interfaces is now online, which means the papers from the 2008 Edelmans have now arrived.  My only disappointment is that my “OR Techniques for Consultants” course was moved up 7 weeks, so this year’s students had to make due with last year’s papers. The papers include: The New Dutch Timetable: […]

A Sheriff Goes to Jail for Not Using Operations Research

An Alabama sheriff spent time in jail for not feeding his prisoners enough.  From the CNN Report: A federal judge ordered a north Alabama sheriff jailed this week, saying the lawman intentionally served jail inmates “woefully insufficient” meals in order to pocket more than $200,000. … At issue is an Alabama law that attorneys for […]

Happy Birthday CPLEX

More than 20 years ago, Bob Bixby decided the world needed a better linear programming code. This wasn’t a particularly obvious decision. First, there were already existing linear programming codes. Second, linear programming implementation was not exactly a hot research topic. Third, Bixby was not particularly known in this area. A typical paper for Bixby […]

The Price of Anarchy

Most days, I go out for coffee two or three times with a gang of economists and finance professors.  As “the OR guy”, my role is generally to ask a few dumb questions, so they can patiently explain some economic effect, at which point one of them will disagree with the other, and they will […]

More about Airlines and Operations Research

Another sign of the difficulty operations research has in getting implemented within airlines comes from the National Post in Canada: Attention passengers: most airlines make boarding more painful than necessary by insisting on traditional back-to-front boarding even though new research shows it can be done faster. Back-to-front boarding is only marginally more efficient than front-to-back […]