— Rodolfo Carvajal (@rocarvaj) September 26, 2012
Turns out that you can confirm this at the online conference program: George Nemhauser and Laurence Wolsey are this year’s von Neumann Prize winners. This is great news! George and Laurence are two of my favorite people in the field. I know George better than Laurence, since he and I are partners in our small sports scheduling company, so I work with him pretty closely. And I did take a few courses from him when I was a doctoral student at George Tech a century or two ago. I have interacted often with Wolsey at conferences, and he was kind enough to host me in Louvain years ago. The book George and Laurence wrote is a classic of integer programming and I am actually stunned they did not receive this award years ago.
But this is my blog, not George or Laurence’s, so let me say two things about me in this context:
- George and I have a paper that we wrote back in the late 1990s on scheduling Atlantic Coast Conference basketball. It is dated now, of course (you can solve this problem in seconds rather than hours), but it remains one of my favorite papers, and I think it was pretty influential in kindling interest in sports scheduling optimization. I wrote it over a 3 day period while snowed in during a year I spent at MIT. The published version is almost identical to what I wrote in those three days. I see it is one of George’s top 15 cited papers, but that probably is not the reason he got the von Neumann. Note that George’s most cited work is his textbook with Wolsey: Google Scholar is a bit confused about this.
- Last year’s winner of the von Neumann was Gerard Cornuejols, who is my colleague at the Tepper School. Looks like “closeness to Michael Trick” is a key criterion for the von Neumann, though actually being Michael Trick is too close to get the bonus points.
Assuming the rumor is true, Congratulations George and Laurence!