Being in the Right Place at the Right Time

  • Kuhn H
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In this article, the author recalls his involvement in the early development of linear programming. The theme of this study is: "Being in the right place at the right time." The right place was the Department of Mathematics at Princeton University; the right time was the spring of 1948 and the period following. After finishing his military service in the United States Army in the Second World War in 1946, he had three years of financial support from the GI Bill of Rights, which allowed him to finish his undergraduate degree at Caltech in 1947 and gave him two years of graduate study at Princeton University. First, the model of nonlinear programming was flexible enough to encompass a large class of real-life problems that had not been adequately treated by the techniques then available. In societal terms, after the successes of operations research in the Second World War, a number of major industries were willing to try out this new model. By contrast, today the personal computer can solve practical problems of ever-increasing size; using large computers, there has been a radical explosion of size and speed.

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  • Harold W. Kuhn

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