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{ Category Archives } Education

The Power of Teaching

Serendipity works, by definition, in amazing ways. Because I went to New Zealand, I rented a house on Waiheke Island, which is now being considered by another professor for his sabbatical next year, who emailed me. And his email led to my visiting his home page, and clicking on a pointer or two, and then […]

Dice, Games, and ORStat

Last year, I received a paper from Prof. Henk Tijms of the Vrije University Amsterdam on using stochastic dynamic programming to analyze some simple dice games (pdf version available). A few years ago, I tried to do something similar with an analysis of a game I called Flip, but which is more commonly known as […]

Tom Cooley and the role of business schools

Business school deans, as an occupational norm, tend to write in terms acceptable to a very wide audience. After spending all day listening to students, faculty, and administrators, there is no sense adding wood to the fire by writing with undue specificity. This gets even worse when deans write for their alumni magazine. Forests of […]

Operations Research and Financial Meltdowns

Aurelie Thiele has a thoughtful post on On Quantitative Finance, inspired by a number of articles on the August melt-down of quant funds. Computational finance has become big business, both in education and on Wall Street. Carnegie Mellon and the Tepper School has been a leader in this, in keeping with our history as a […]

Six Key Ideas of Operations Research?

For most of us, teaching a first course in operations research involves trotting out our old friends linear programming, sensitivity analysis, integer programming, and so on. Twenty years ago, we used linear algebra; today, we concentrate more on modeling. But it is not clear that students get the Big Picture. Like “Modeling is useful” or […]

OR, Poker, and Teaching

It is a lovely morning here in New Zealand, and the sun is rising over the bay that my house overlooks. So naturally I am wandering around the web. Gary Carson’s Math and Poker blog is one that I regularly follow (not the least because he points to this blog). He writes about the role […]

The Blue Ball Production Problem

It’s course preparation time again. For those of you teaching production or scheduling, if you are looking for a graphic to show the need for split-second planning in certain production processes, I highly recommend the Blue Ball Machine. Hypnotic! From Wired Magazine: A Rube Goldberg machine made of animated tiles, with hundreds of blue balls […]

Teaching Operations Research and Management Science

One of the ironies of academic life is that a large portion of it is taken over by an aspect that few of us have formal training in: teaching! The average high school teacher has a firmer foundation on pedagogic theory than almost any university professor. This is particularly problematic in operations research since the […]