Saturday, January 31, 2009

Internet becomes fueling ground for Open Source mathematics discussion

An interesting post from Timothy Gowers, Field's medalist and Fellow at Trinity College, suggests starting an online weblog for publically collaborating mathematical concepts and problem solving. Glyn Moody, on his blog Open..., took it one step further and suggested that this could be considered Open Source Mathematics. Is it possible to use the Open Source movement as a methodology of solving mathematical principles and problems? I absolutely believe this is possible. In fact I am willing to suggest that this has already been in existence.

Math is a language that has no race, religion, or region. Math has been collaborated by all sorts of people, in academia or not, for centuries. The only thing that has kept public collaboration is the media by which it is presented to the masses. In the past the methodology was journals, papers, lectures, and small forums of people to collaborate. Now the age of the internet has brought a new media to present mathematical ideas. Journals are already being spread online. Blogs and online chat rooms have brought like-minded interest groups together. I believe we could be in a new age of mathematical revolution.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Why go proprietary when you can go Free part 2

Since I last posted about Free software tools I have found other great Industrial Engineering tools. Statistics plays a major role for the Industrial Engineer and Operations Research analyst. There are a huge amount of statistical tools in the market for computers and software. I have found that there is numerous Free Software tools available for analyzing statistics and data sets.

Here is a Free Software equivalents table for statistical software

S, SAS --> R-Project

Matlab, Scilab --> SciPy (requires Python programming language)


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Why go proprietary when you can go Free

The tools in the Industrial Engineer and Operations Research tool bag is increasing with the advances of software systems. In the past the tools were relegated to proprietary software that would cost an organization licensing fees, software updates, and support services. Yet there is a shift in thinking in how software is developed, delivered, and administered to the masses. That shift is in free and open source software. This free software movement has shifted the thinking that good software need not be copyrighted and licensed for proprietary distribution. Instead software should be made freely to the masses to use, distributed, and even improve upon.

The free and open source software movement has even made its way to Industrial Engineer and Operations Research tools. There are many proprietary equivalents that can be found in the free software realm. Most of which will even work on a Windows platform. I have listed some of these software tools in a equivalents table.

Microsoft Excel ---> OpenOffice Calc, KOffice KSpread

Spreadsheet LP Solver
Excel Solver ---> Calc Optimization Solver

Math Programming Software

These are but only a few equivalents. You can see more free and open source equivalents to all sorts of software on the following links.

The Table of Equivalents equivalents table

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What is Operations Research?

When I tell people I have a masters degree in Operations Research they often say "What is Operations Research?". Michael Trick has a great blog post examining this very question of explaining Operations Research to others. In fact he even solves that question with the ever so appropriate Operations Research tool of using an algorithm.

My typical response to the question "What is Operations Research" is using mathematics and statistics to help solve a business decision. Better yet, from the blog article, is Jim Orlin's response. Jim states Operations Research is "science of better decision making". Very good response and is one I will use in the future.