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An Overview over All the Winners

I've got an email request to post an overview of all the ISMP Prizes and Winners. Here it is -- and more information can be found in the printed newsletter (issue of Monday) which is distributed in the main TU building.


  • The Dantzig Prize goes to Laurence Wolsey from Catholic University of Louvain and Jorge Nocedal from Northwestern University. Jorge Nocedal has made fundamental contributions to the theory of nonlinear optimization methods.
  • The Lagrange Prize goes to Emmanuel Candes from Stanford University and Ben Recht from the University of Wisconsin for their paper Exact Matrix Completion via Convex Optimization (Foundations of Computational Mathematics (2009) 9:717--772).
  • The Fulkerson Prize is awarded for the following three papers.
    • Sanjeev Arora, Satish Rao, and Umesh Vazirani: Expander flows, geometric embeddings and graph partitioning (J. ACM, 56 (2009), pp.~1--37).
    • Anders Johansson, Jeff Kahn, and Van H. Vu: Factors in random graphs, (Random Structures and Algorithms 33 (2008), pp.~1--28).
    • László Lovász and Balázs Szegedy: Limits of dense graph sequences (Journal of Combinatorial Theory Series B 96 (2006), pp.~933--957).
  • The Beale-Orchard-Hays Prize goes to Michael Grant and Stephen Boyd from Stanford University, for their software CVX. Michael Grant is currently the chief technologist at Tune Energy, a small startup offering advanced analytics and optimization for electricity retail.
  • The Tucker Prize Finalists where Oliver Friedmann from Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Amitabh Basu from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, and Guanghui Lan from Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta. The first prize went to Oliver (see below).
  • The Tseng Memorial Lecturer will be Yinyu Ye from Stanford University. More on the lecture: see below.

And the Winner is...

There was one prize still due: The Tucker Prize. In these minutes, the first Prize has been awarded to Oliver Friedmann from LMU Munich -- 1000 Dollars, a medal and a certificate. Congratulations!


Danny Ralph is handing out the certificate to Oliver Friedmann; the prize committee is standing by.

Tseng Memorial Lecture

There has been some confusion about the Tseng Memorial Lecture. It now takes place on Tuesday in room H 0105 from 9.00 to 09.50 and it will be on "Recent Progresses in Linear Programming and the Simplex Method". The lecture thus replaces the plenary talk of Robin Thomas who unfortunately cannot attend the ISMP because of his health problems; he got a pneumonia and had to stay in hospital.

Yinyu Ye will prove that the classic policy-iteration method (Howard 1960), including the Simplex method (Dantzig 1947) with the most-negative-reduced-cost pivoting rule, is a strongly polynomial-time algorithm for solving the Markov decision process (MDP) with a constant discount factor. Furthermore, he shows that the computational complexity of the policy-iteration method (including the Simplex method) is superior to that of the only known strongly polynomial-time interior-point algorithm for solving this problem, which seems consistent with practical observation. Indeed a surprising result and surely not only interesting for our Tucker Prize Finalist Oliver Friedmann!

Drama over Newark

Robert J. Vanderbei tells us a story that normally only happens in novels and movies. Together with about other 30 participants of the ISMP he was on board of a Boeing 757 when he got the shock of his life: on their way from Newark to Berlin, they had to make an emergency landing back at Newark airport. An airline spokesman later said, the airplaine had "experienced a mechanical issue with the engine" after takeoff from Newark at 5:50 p.m. Saturday. The flight landed safely about 8:10 p.m.


An email of Vanderbei contains more details: "We had a tire blow out. Pieces of the tire flew into the engine. There was a tremendous banging and thumping. I and other passengers saw flame coming from the engine."


We hope they will make their trip to Berlin with the next plane -- and without any more emergencies!


Update: It finally worked. Robert Vanderbei and all the others have arrived safely in Berlin now!

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