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Homeland Security at the OR Forum

The OR Forum area of Operations Research has a new paper and commentaries published on the topic “Homeland Security: From Mathematical Models to Policy Implementation”.  The paper is by Larry Wein, with commentaries by Dick Larson, Eva Lee, Nathaniel Hupert (a doctor in public health) and Dave Alderson.  I think it is a very interesting article and very nice commentaries.  I particularly liked Dr. Hupert encouraging more of us in operations research to look at these problems:

What is needed is a new generation of engineers who can speak the language of health care (and vice versa), and who then step into the unknown in much the way Prof. Wein describes to discover the important unsolved (or avoided, as the case may be) problems.

I also enjoyed Dave Alderson’s querying of how to make this work. How do we get more people to have an effect on policy? He suspects it is not quite as easy as Larry makes it look.

Eva Lee talked about her work with the Centers for Disease Control on better systems for supplying emergency medical supplies, which I think is an extremely important and interesting issue. Dick Larson harkened back to World War II, and suggests we need a bit more social science to truly understand how people react in crisis.

I am the Area Editor for this, of course, and this is about the eighth OR Forum paper published. I like all of the papers, but I thought the commentaries on this one were particularly interesting.

If you have a thought on the paper or commentaries, may I encourage you to provide that at the Operations Research site? Hundreds (or thousands) of people download the paper and the commentaries, but we still don’t get much discussion there.