Saturday, July 10, 2010

Funny article on optimization meets real world leads to some good insights

I have known Narayan for a long time. We have traded lots of great stories over that time. This article, on how he started out in the pursuit of applying optimization to business problems, is the funniest one! Certainly worth a read.

This is not the first time a problem solver has taken an optimization centric view of the world and built a system that just has an optimization engine, a data layer, and a user interface to spit out the results.  A four layered view of a solution engine is a good way to look at this:

  1. data layer
  2. visibility layer
  3. predictive/simulation layer
  4. optimization layer
In my experience, as Narayan observes, the predictive layer as a solution is underappreciated. A system that assists the user to make the "best" decision has a much better chance of getting used than a system that spits out the "best" decision at the user.  


- Karthik

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