George Nemhauser

Barbara Christopher
Industrial and Systems Engineering
Contact Barbara Christopher
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He's assisted with the logistics for airlines and shipping ports, but a chaired
professor in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering is now responsible
for ensuring the Yankees play the Red Sox in September.

deal with conflicting requirements and preferences as a matter of course,
but as the financial and competitive stakes in athletics at the college
and professional level rise, so does the complexity of creating a balanced
schedule. George Nemhauser * a mathematician and a sports fan * noticed
it could benefit from specialization.

He's a partner
in a company called the Sports Scheduling Group, which has handled athletic
scheduling for several college conferences, including Tech's own
Atlantic Coast Conference for nearly a decade. The objective, he said,
is to balance the requirements of the television contract with competitive
fairness while accommodating the needs of fans, coaches, players, media,
sponsors and facility operators.

For some time,
Nemhauser and his partners have had their eye on Major League Baseball,
which lets companies submit proposed schedules and selects the best one.
After several attempts, the office announced last fall it was awarding
SSG the scheduling contract through 2006.

Compared with collegiate
scheduling, though, baseball is another order of magnitude. In fact, the
complexity of the task makes it too large to handle as a whole. Developing
a viable schedule, he noted, involved 12 high-performance computers running
virtually non-stop for five months.

a wildly constrained process and to come up with something feasible is
very difficult," he said. "Perhaps IBM's Blue Gene computer
could handle something as big and complicated as this, but I doubt it."

Age: 67

Occupation: Professor

Job description: Teaching, research with graduate students
on discrete optimization [both theoretical and applied] and faculty athletics
representative to the NCAA.

What I find most rewarding about my job: Working with students.

What I find most challenging about my job: Keeping up with
the graduate students.

Years at Tech: 19

Education: Bachelor's degree in chemical engineering
from City College of New York; master's degree in chemical engineering
from Northwestern University; doctoral degree in operations research from Northwestern

Hobbies: Tennis, hiking, travel, wine collecting (and drinking)

The last book I read for pleasure: "Atonement," by
Ian McEwan.

The CD in my stereo: '60s-era Bob Dylan.

Another occupation I'd like to try: Centerfielder for
or owner of the New York Yankees. Unfortunately, they require ability and money
I don't have.

My first paid job: Camp counselor in the mid-1950s. We were
paid $250 for the summer.

One place I've always wanted to visit: I traveled a
lot both for business and pleasure and enjoy almost everywhere I've been.

One talent I would most like to have: Athletic ability

What I consider my greatest accomplishment: Being selected
as one of the eight best instructors in the Johns Hopkins University student
course guide three years in a row.

My pet peeve is: People who don't respect confidentiality.

My day would not be complete without: A glass of good wine.

What I most value in my friends: Humor and loyalty

My motto: Work and play hard.

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School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISYE)

Engineering, Research
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  • Created By: Barbara Christopher
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Feb 6, 2005 - 8:00pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:07pm