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The Discovery of Linear Programming

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129451D
Original Publication Date: 1984-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 18 page(s) / 75K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

ROBERT DORFMAN: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Around 1940, linear programming was an idea whose time had come. Accordingly, it was discovered three times, independently, between 1939 and 1947, but each time in a somewhat different form dictated by the special circumstances of that discovery. The first discovery was by L. V. Kantorovich, a Soviet citizen, the second was by T. C. Koopmans, Dutch, and the third by G. B. Dantzig, American. The third discovery turned out to be the most general and convenient form, and led to the theory of linear programming as we know it today.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1984 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

The Discovery of Linear Programming

ROBERT DORFMAN

(Image Omitted: © 1984 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Permission to copy without fee all or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for direct commercial advantage, the AFIPS copyright notice and the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires specific permission. Author's Address: Department of Economics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138. © 1984 AFIPS 0164-~239/84/030283-295

The Discovery of Linear Programming

ROBERT DORFMAN .00/00)

Around 1940, linear programming was an idea whose time had come. Accordingly, it was discovered three times, independently, between 1939 and 1947, but each time in a somewhat different form dictated by the special circumstances of that discovery. The first discovery was by
L. V. Kantorovich, a Soviet citizen, the second was by T. C. Koopmans, Dutch, and the third by
G. B. Dantzig, American. The third discovery turned out to be the most general and convenient form, and led to the theory of linear programming as we know it today.

Categories and Subject Descriptors: G. 1.6 [Numerical Analysis]: Optimization -- linear programming; K.2 [History of Computing] -- people, software General Terms: Economics. Management Additional Key Words and Phrases: L. V. Kantorovich, T. C. Koopmans, G. B. Dantzig

Foreword

George B. Dantzig

Robert Dorfman in this interesting story of the "discovery" leaves out the important role that he himself played in linear programming's early development. Dorfman, like Tjalling Koopmans, foresaw the fundamental role that linear programming would play in economic theory. He pioneered the development of quadratic programming and was the first to use the term "mathematical programming." His 1958 book (with Samuelson and Solow) on "Linear Programming and Economic Analysis" remains today one of the great classics. I am personally indebted to him for the many stimulating discussions that we had on LP in the early days when we were both at the Pentagon. George B. Dantzig Departments of Operations Research and Computer Science Stanford University Stanford, CA 94305

This report will recount the story of the discovery of linear programming and the roles of the principal contributors. It is not an especially complicated story, as histories of scientific discoveries go, but neither is it entirely straightforward. The complications arise from one general reason and from three special circumstances.

IEEE Computer Society, Jul 01, 1984 Page 1 IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 6 Number 3, Pages 283-295

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