Operations Research Questions

Topics: Linear programming, Optimization, Sherlock Holmes Pages: 8 (2632 words) Published: March 21, 2013
Pace University

Faculty Working Papers Lubin School of Business


The Mystery of Linear Programming Explained: Second Edition
Jack Yurkiewicz
Pace University

Follow this and additional works at: http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lubinfaculty_workingpapers Recommended Citation Yurkiewicz, Jack, "The Mystery of Linear Programming Explained: Second Edition" (1999). Faculty Working Papers. Paper 21. http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lubinfaculty_workingpapers/21

This Article is brought to you for free and open access by the Lubin School of Business at DigitalCommons@Pace. It has been accepted for inclusion in Faculty Working Papers by an authorized administrator of DigitalCommons@Pace. For more information, please contact rracelis@pace.edu.

No. 191 November 1999

The Mystery of Linear Programming Explained: Second Edition


Jack Yurkewicz, Ph.D. Professor of Management Science and Director of the Advanced Professional Certificate Program Lubin School of Business Pace University


As Recounted by John H. Watson, M.D. Edited by Jack Yurkiewicz, Ph.D.

Jack Yurkiewicz is Professor of Management Science and Director of the Advanced Professional Certificate Program at the Lubin School of Business, Pace University.


INTRODUCTION I hadn't seen my old friend and companion, Sir Sherlock Holmes (he had been knighted by the Queen and insisted that this appellation be used) in several months. Feeling that I had slighted him, I rang him up and told him I would be stopping by the next day to see how his new business venture was progressing. Holmes was truly glad to hear my voice and urged that we have lunch together. While he hinted that his firm, of which he was the sole employee, was doing well, he did indeed wish to discuss a business proposition with me. Needless to say, I was intrigued. I won’t bother to bore you, dear reader, with some of our mundane conversation the next day save to say that I found Holmes to be moodier than ever. The great detective had long ago become bored with crime solving, claiming there was little challenge in solving many of the violent crimes that seemed so prevalent in our society. The firm that he started provided consulting service to corporations, in which he would use his mental abilities to help managers solve their business-related problems. Holmes explained to me that he enjoyed the challenge of his new endeavors but was finding it increasingly difficult to converse with these "business types," as he called them. He just didn't have the patience to explain his findings to them, for he found them curiously dull. Holmes went on to say that he had no doubt that this fact was the cause of the country's lack of success in the international business environment. I didn't want to say it, but I thought to myself that the fault might not be solely with the business managers he was dealing with, but partially with him, for I myself frequently found him short-tempered and impatient, even during his ordinary conversations with me. In any case, his proposition to me was simple. Holmes: Listen, Watson, I just can't bear the thought of explaining to these so-called “leaders” how they should be running their firms. They come to me with some specific problem, usually ill-defined, and then expect me to come up with a solution. I have found that getting the solution is fairly trivial, but I have the dickens of a time trying to explain it to them! You have a solid head on your shoulders, old fellow. Suppose you became my partner. Your only job would be to explain to them the solution that I propose, for I fear that my patience is not as long as yours is. Watson: The thought intrigues me, for I have been cutting back on my practice lately and do find myself available with more free time. What procedures do you use to get your results? Holmes: Mostly a branch of...
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