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 ofalgebraic modeling languagesprovided 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: AIMMS (Bisschop), AMPL (Fourer, Gay, and Kerninghan), GAMS (Bisschop and Meeraus), LINDO/LINGO (Cunningham and Schrage), and MPL (Kristjansson). 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.
In addition to developing the software, the awardees have published many academic papers and books on algebraic modeling languages and they have trained many users in academia and industry on the use of their modeling languages through workshops and conference presentations.
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. Modeling language systems have become invaluable for quickly prototyping new ideas, for supporting strategic planning exercises at reasonable cost, for formulating models that can be reliably maintained as circumstances change, and for allowing thousands of users to effectively use optimization models for their problems.
For all their work on algebraic modeling languages, INFORMS is delighted to award the 2012 Impact Prize to Johannes Bisschop, Kevin Cunningham, Robert Fourer, David Gay, Brian Kernighan, Bjarni Kristjansson, Alexander Meeraus, and Linus Schrage.
Purpose of the Award
The Impact Prize, awarded once every two years, is intended to recognize contributions that have had a broad impact on the field. The contribution could be an idea or technique that is widely used, or it could be someone who played a major role in bringing significant methodology into widespread use (e.g. by playing a major role in the design of a software package that is now widely used, or through extensive writings and lectures aimed at practitioners). The award complements the Edelman Prize. Instead of focusing on a single large application with quantifiable impact, we are looking for ideas that are widely used. The award may go to some combination of the originator of the idea and/or the people or group who played a significant role in bringing the idea to a community who uses it.
This is not a research award. The awards committee is not judging the quality of a body of work. Instead, emphasis will be placed on evaluating the breadth of the impact of an idea or body of research. If the major contribution of the individual or group is bringing an idea to a practice community, the precise nature of this contribution needs to be understood (leading a software company; lectures and writings).
The prize consists of a plaque and a cash award of $1000.