The ACM (the Association for Computing Machinery) has announced 44 new Fellows. A number of them are well-known in the operations research community (some are just plain well-known: can it be that Stephen Cook of NP-completeness fame was not a Fellow before now?). These include:
- Tuomas Sandholm, Carnegie Mellon. Tuomas does an amazing number of things very well. He is an ideal faculty member raising money, training students, and so on. He also runs a company: CombineNet. Much, but not all, of his work is in combinatorial auctions, and he has really revolutionized that area. He also windsurfs. He is someone I am jealous of.
- Michel Goemans, MIT. Has done amazing work in approximation algorithms. I am not a huge fan of approximation algorithms: I like solving real problems and it is not clear that a factor of 2 approximation is of much use, much less a log x/log log x approximation. And while many approximation papers give lip-service to the applications of the models they work with, very rarely are approximation algorithms implemented. That said, Michel does what I admire more than anything: he finds truly new and creative approaches to problems. When Michel finds a new approach (which he seems to do every two years or so), it is worth learning about because his approaches generally lead to a very rich a productive research vein. I am jealous of Michel too.
- Sanjeev Arora, Princeton. Unlike Tuomas and Michel, I do not know Sanjeev personally, so I cannot be jealous of him. But I certainly know his work on randomized approaches to hard problems.
So congrats to all the new Fellows!