INFORMS News: Eight win INFORMS Impact Prize


The 2012 INFORMS Impact Prize, a lifetime achievement award in the field of operations research, was awarded to eight individuals who developed one or more of the five most important algebraic modeling languages. The winners and the modeling languages they were associated with include Johannes Bisschop (AIMMS and GAMS), Linus Schrage and Kevin Cunningham (LINDO/LINGO), Robert Fourer, David Gay and Brian Kernighan (AMPL), Bjarni Kristjansson (MPL) and Alexander Meeraus (GAMS).

Awarded every two years, the INFORMS Impact Prize highlights a tool, methodology or concept that has had wide-ranging impact on practice and society, with a very broad scope. Prize Committee Chair Geert-Jan Van Houtum announced the winners at the INFORMS Award Ceremony held in conjunction with the INFORMS Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Ariz.

Following are excerpts from the awards citation:

Development of the simplex method in the 1950s was an important milestone in the field of optimization. Research in following decades focused on methodological and computational advances for quickly and efficiently solving optimization models. However, the difficulty in managing data, formulating models and interacting with advanced optimization solvers remained a barrier for its large-scale use. In the 1980s, the development of algebraic modeling languages provided the means to overcome these barriers.

The awardees of the 2012 Impact Prize are the primary originators of the five most important algebraic modeling languages used for optimization. These five systems are developed and supported by small companies created by the awardees. Further, these systems have been incorporated in general-purpose systems of large technical software companies, spreadsheet programs, mathematical modeling systems, and object-oriented programming languages.

Today, the availability of powerful, efficient and intuitive general-purpose modeling languages plays a central role in encouraging optimization applications throughout the field of operations research and beyond, from short-term scheduling through multi-year planning, in all aspects of production, logistics, business strategy and many areas of engineering.