Gass (2002), in his article ‘The First Linear-Programming Shoppe’, traces the early history of linear programming pertaining to the solution of linear equations, its interrelationship with computing, and its foundation within the federal government. This article focusses mainly on the first linear-programming shoppe, whose research contributions include the successful development, testing and verification of the simplex model. This article is significant given that the results obtained from operational research have greatly revolutionized decision-making, a managerial practice that cuts across all modern entities, including businesses and government operations. However, due to the exceedingly technical nature of its analysis, the article would possibly only be of interest to experts well versed in linear programming, calculus and game theory.
While these findings are undoubtedly important, the author’s attention to detail in outlining the mundane aspects of the research is exacting. For instance, the lengthy inclusion of how he wound up working with the research team is an unnecessary detail that only serves to derail the interest of the reader from the main thesis of the article. In addition, the technical language used hampers the reader’s ability to relate the models to managerial decision-making as is otherwise asserted by the thesis. The article is also charged with emotion and bias, probably because the author was also part of the team that conducted the research. A plus for this article include: clear definition of technical terms such as program planning (Wood and Danzig, 1949, p.15); correct citation of secondary sources; clear arguments adequately supported by credible evidence; and, logical structure of ideas, with sub-headings to guide the reader.
In conclusion, Gass’ article provides a comprehensive review of past research into linear programming and presents interesting findings and the author’s own contribution with regards to solving the parametric programming problem. However, the author’s failure to present findings in simple terms renders this research inaccessible to lay audiences.
Berger, U. (2007). Brown’s original fictitious play. Journal of Economic Theory, 135, 572-578.
Dantzig, G. B., & Wood, M. K. (1949). Programming of interdependent activities I, general discussion. Project SCOOP Report, 5, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
Gass, S. I. (2002). The First Linear-Programming Shoppe. Operations Research, 50, 61-68.