Non-Academic Institutions

Non-Academic Institutions

The institutions listed on this page had OR/MS groups early in the history of the profession, as indicated by advertisements, position announcements, ORSA and TIMS membership, and early participation in the Roundtable (previously Management Roundtable.) 

The image above (by Leonard McCombe of Life Magazine, courtesy of GettyImages) is of the RAND Corporation building in Santa Monica, CA, in the 1950's, where Kenneth Arrow, George Dantzig, Ray Fulkerson, Charles Hitch, Harry Markowitz, John Nash and Lloyd Shapley and many other OR luminaries spent time in their careers.  This image was chosen to represent historic institutions in Operations Research because of the historic role of RAND in OR, but also because the design principles for this RAND building were established in a memorandum by mathematician J. D. Williams, one of the founders of RAND and head of what became the mathematics department there. 

Williams wrote that  "RAND represents an attempt to exploit mixed teams, and that to the extent its facility can promote this effort it should do so.
"This implies that it should be easy and painless to get from one point to another in the building; it should even promote chance meetings of people. A formal call by Mr. X on Mr. Y is the only way X and Y can develop such a tender thing as an idea .... If the interoffice distances are to be kept reasonable, the building must be compact."  From this and other considerations "I was therefore led to try a system of closed courts or patios, and became involved in the theory of regular lattices, which is a fascinating subject; the square, the figure eight, and a hierarchy of more complicated designs." 
In the memo, Williams presents a table showing the "Average Distance between Points in Lattice (measured along lattice lines, expressed as a percentage of the total length of all lattice lines)" for various rectangular lattice configurations.  He notes that the average travel distance decreases as the lattice becomes complex.  At the time of the photograph, the actual building - which evolved over time and was torn down in 2007 - had five vertical and three horizontal lines, for which the average distance between offices Williams computes as 12% of the total hallway length. 

Architectural historian Michael Kubo writes that while the building's architect H. Roy Kelley "clearly based his design ... on the system outlined by Williams, his written description betrays no interest in the principles of connectivity and interaction Williams identifies as the starting point for his investigation of the lattice." Nonetheless, Kubo shows that Williams' objectives were substantially met, at least in the early days of the organization.