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{ Monthly Archives } May 2009

A Better Random Number Generator?

In operations research, we often use “random” numbers.  Whether we are doing a simulation of a manufacturing facility, generating future economic scenarios in financial optimization, or creating “random” instances to test our algorithms, we use up lots of random numbers.  Terry Pratchett might wonder whether we are using up all the randomness in our need […]

Brenda Dietrich “Most Creative”

Fast Company has IBM Vice President, Business Analytics and Mathematical Sciences, Brenda Dietrich as number 27 on their list of “100 Most Creative People in Business”.    Nice quote from her: “Mathematics,” says Brenda L. Dietrich, 49, “is not mechanical. You’re finding how things look different on the surface and then seeing what they have in […]

Gurobi software now available for download

I am behind Erwin Kalvelagen, who writes an extremely useful blog where many challenging modeling problems are solved (this is one of my “must read” blogs), in announcing that Gurobi’s standalone software is now available.  I particularly like that the trial version is 500 variables and 500 constraints, which is large enough to see how […]

Data Mining Competition from FICO and UCSD

I am a sucker for competitions.  I have run a few in the past, and I see my page on the Traveling Tournament Problem as an indefinite length computational competition.    Data Mining naturally leads to competitions:  there are so many alternative techniques out there and little idea of what might work well or poorly on […]

Whither Data Mining?

The New York Times Magazine this week is a special issue on debt (a topic that has a particular resonance to me:  we are still paying off an expensive, but spectacular, year in New Zealand!).   There is a fascinating article on what credit card companies can learn about you based on your spending.   For instance, […]

Advice to Doctoral Students

Noah Snyder, a doctoral student in mathematics at Berkeley, has a wonderful post on how to be a successful doctoral student (I lost track on where I saw this:  if it is from an OR blog, please let me know so I can give credit Thanks to Yiorgos Adamopoulos for his tweet on this).  While […]

Computational Sustainability

Carla Gomes from Cornell visited here a few weeks ago.  I have known Carla for a decade or so, and she has been one of the people who I have found very useful to talk to when trying to figure out the world of constraint programming. Carla gets involved in lots of things.  She (along […]

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 […]

Arnoff Lecture by Keeney, Having Children, and Decision Analysis

Last year around this time, I was giving the 17th Arnoff Lecture at the University of Cincinnati, which was a great thrill. This year, the Arnoff Lecturer was Ralph Keeney who spoke on “Making Informed Business, Health, and Personal Decisions”. Keeney was the author of an OR Forum Paper on how personal decisions are a […]

What Motivates Operations Researchers?

I was wandering through the Social Science Research Network (a place to which I don’t often go) and I checked out the top operations research papers. The most downloaded paper is by Martin Shubik on 50 years of operations research and game theory. This is an older (2001) paper but makes fascinating reading. I was […]