happy belated anniversary operations research and management science!

A recent literature review turned up a reference to a classic 1981 paper by Marshall Fisher that introduced Lagrangian relaxation. I was surprised to note a 2004 publication date and upon further analysis, I noticed that the paper was republished in 2004 in a special issue of Management Science devoted to the ten most influential papers in the journal’s first 50 years. I didn’t have a blog in December 2004 when the issue came out, so I am going to wish Management Science a belated anniversary 10.5 years later.

The list of papers is pretty amazing. It includes:

  1. Linear Programming Under Uncertainty by George Dantzig
  2. Dynamic Version of the Economic Lot Size Model by Harvey M. Wagner, Thomson M. Whitin
  3. A Suggested Computation for Maximal Multi-Commodity Network Flows by L. R. Ford Jr., D. R. Fulkerson
  4. Optimal Policies for a Multi-Echelon Inventory Problem by Andrew Clark and Herbert Scarf
  5. Jobshop-like Queueing Systems by James Jackson
  6. Games with Incomplete Information Played by “Bayesian” Players, I–III: Part I. The Basic Model by John Harsanyi
  7. A New Product Growth for Model Consumer Durables by Frank Bass
  8. Models and Managers: The Concept of a Decision Calculus by John D. C. Little
  9. The Lagrangian Relaxation Method for Solving Integer Programming Problems by Marshall L. Fisher
  10. Information Distortion in a Supply Chain: The Bullwhip Effect by Hau L. Lee, V. Padmanabhan, and Seungjin Whang

Later I discovered an expanded list of the 50 most influential papers. Additionally, there are anniversary review papers in every issue of the 50th volume of Management Science, including “Improving emergency responsiveness with management science” by Linda Green and Peter Kolesar (one of my favorites). More are here.

The journal Operations Research celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2002. Volume 50, issue 1 of Operations Research is dedicated to the celebration, and it contains 33 articles that contain musings of the origins of important breakthroughs in operations research:

  1. The Genesis of “Optimal Inventory Policy” by Kenneth J. Arrow
  2. Solving Real-World Linear Programs: A Decade and More of Progress by Robert E. Bixby
  3. Crime Modeling by Alfred Blumstein
  4. Army Operations Research—Historical Perspectives and Lessons Learned by Seth Bonder
  5. Abraham Charnes and W. W. Cooper (et al.): A Brief History of a Long Collaboration in Developing Industrial Uses of Linear Programming by W. W. Cooper
  6. Linear Programming by George B. Dantzig
  7. Richard Bellman on the Birth of Dynamic Programming by Stuart Dreyfus
  8. Some Origins of Operations Research in the Health Services by Charles D. Flagle
  9. The First Linear-Programming Shoppe by Saul Gass
  10. The Origins of Traffic Theory by Denos C. Gazis
  11. Early Integer Programming by Ralph E. Gomory
  12. War and Peace: The First 25 Years of or in Great Britain by K. Brian Haley
  13. Energy Modeling for Policy Studies by William W. Hogan
  14. Learning How to Plan Production, Inventories, and Work Force by Charles C. Holt
  15. Comments on the Origin and Application of Markov Decision Processes by Ronald A. Howard
  16. Navy Operations Research by Wayne P. Hughes Jr.
  17. Interdisciplinary Meandering in Science by Samuel Karlin
  18. How Networks of Queues Came About by Jim Jackson
  19. Creating a Mathematical Theory of Computer Networks by Leonard Kleinrock
  20. Being in the Right Place at the Right Time by Harold W. Kuhn
  21. Public Sector Operations Research: A Personal Journey by Richard Larson
  22. Philip M. Morse and the Beginnings by John D. C. Little
  23. Operations Research at Arthur D. Little, Inc.: The Early Years by John F. Magee
  24. Efficient Portfolios, Sparse Matrices, and Entities: A Retrospective by Harry M. Markowitz
  25. Perspectives on the Evolution of Simulation by Richard E. Nance and Robert G. Sargent
  26. Memoirs on Highway Traffic Flow Theory in the 1950s by G. F. Newell
  27. Decision Analysis: A Personal Account of How It Got Started and Evolved by Howard Raiffa
  28. Inventory Theory by Herbert E. Scarf
  29. Game Theory and Operations Research: Some Musings 50 Years Later by Martin Shubik
  30. Analysis, Design, and Control of Queueing Systems by Shaler Stidham Jr.
  31. And Then There Were None by Harvey M. Wagner
  32. Applied Probability in Great Britain by Peter Whittle

There are other anniversary collections. In 2008, Springer published a book called “50 Years of Integer Programming, 1958 – 2008” edited by Juenger, M., Liebling, Th.M., Naddef, D., Nemhauser, G.L., Pulleyblank, W.R., Reinelt, G., Rinaldi, G., Wolsey, L.A. The book contains new material summarizing important integer programming algorithms and ideas that have been introduced over the years. The book is described as follows:

In 1958, Ralph E. Gomory transformed the field of integer programming when he published a short paper that described his cutting-plane algorithm for pure integer programs and announced that the method could be refined to give a finite algorithm for integer programming. In January of 2008, to commemorate the anniversary of Gomory’s seminal paper, a special session celebrating fifty years of integer programming was held in Aussois, France, as part of the 12th Combinatorial Optimization Workshop. This book is based on the material presented during this session.

Peter Horner wrote a 2002 article in OR/MS Today celebrating the 50th anniversary of INFORMS about the history of INFORMS and where we need to go as a field. He ends his article with this:

After 50 years of combined history, INFORMS still finds itself knee-deep in confusion. Plenty of problems have been solved… and plenty of problems remain.

What is your favorite OR/MS birthday memory?

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