Before buying my own vehicle, I evaluated all possible options to reach office. Then I selected the fast & cost effective one. And based on time needed to recover my investment, I took the final decision. There are many such examples in my life where I used optimization concepts unknowingly.

It would be interesting to know the examples where operation research concepts solved the daily routine problems.

So, what is your case?

asked 18 Dec '10, 07:14

Ram's gravatar image

Ram
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When packing my suitcase I use a heuristic method of packing the large or oddly-shaped clothes and items first, and then fitting the smaller things in the gaps. Since downsizing from a huge suitcase to one I can carry in the cabin I have tighter upper bounds on the space my clothes can take. I use a combination of rolling and stuffing.

I would never consider evaluating all of the possible packing options though... except on tiny problems this usually takes too long.

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answered 18 Dec '10, 07:53

DC%20Woods's gravatar image

DC Woods ♦
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accept rate: 5%

This post by larrydag asks a similar question and there were some interesting answers...

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answered 18 Dec '10, 11:32

DC%20Woods's gravatar image

DC Woods ♦
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My optimization professor at Georgia Tech had us optimize the seating arrangement for his wedding. He provided a sparse matrix of scores between pairs of people on [0,1], only people with scores could be seated at a table. Certain people in the bridal party had to be at certain tables, but other than that the number of tables and number of chairs per table were variables. Maximize the total compatibility of the seating. We also played with setting constraints on the minimum allowed compatibility between any two people at a table, maximins etc. It was fun.

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answered 28 Dec '10, 14:25

Jon%20Davis's gravatar image

Jon Davis
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accept rate: 16%

It looks like a typical probability problem.....

(29 Dec '10, 07:18) Ram

Recently I had to put all the office furniture boxes shown on these 2 pictures in the car shown on the right picture. The guy who gave me the boxes, assured me it was possible to put everything in the car and I had to put in the small boxes first, on the bottom. That didn't work too well. Anyway, here's my result, half an hour later (in the freezing cold) and I still couldn't fit in those 3 boxes shown in the left picture.

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answered 18 Dec '10, 10:19

Geoffrey%20De%20Smet's gravatar image

Geoffrey De ... ♦
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accept rate: 6%

edited 18 Dec '10, 11:17

This makes me think of a great idea for an iPhone app - imagine taking a photo of the things you have to pack and the space they have to go in, and it optimizes it and shows you the best packing scheme....

(18 Dec '10, 11:29) DC Woods ♦

Yes that's an good idea. I mean if some Norwegian guy can make a living of providing an iPhone application which can turn the phone into a flash-light..well it's all about selling to the masses and not the few :-)

(18 Dec '10, 12:02) Bo Jensen ♦

Android (the google phone) already has the flashlight app out-of-the-box

(18 Dec '10, 20:44) Geoffrey De ... ♦

Flashlight apps really don't work very well... at least the ones that simply light up the screen. The iPhone 4 has a better function of being able to actually turn the camera flash on, and that works much better.

(19 Dec '10, 02:36) DC Woods ♦

name like" Optispace" or similar would suit such iphone app.

(19 Dec '10, 05:22) Ram

It's probably overkill, but I recently set up a binary knapsack model to help me claim credit card rebates.

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answered 28 Dec '10, 23:25

Paul%20Rubin's gravatar image

Paul Rubin ♦♦
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accept rate: 19%

Whenever I am at a catered buffet event, I think of queueing and make sure the caterer does not place the tables along a wall. When guests can take food from both sides, the wait time is halved.

I have a daily Operations Management blog for professors at www.heizerrenderom.wordpress.com at which all sorts of these issues are discussed.

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answered 29 Dec '10, 16:54

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Barry Render
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Do you also make sure the caterer puts the salad ingredients on a different table from the entrees, so that the people who "design" their salad one leaf of lettuce at a time don't hold up the starving carnivores (for whom I am the poster boy)?

(01 Jan '11, 16:26) Paul Rubin ♦♦

As a matter of fact, I do! And I have the ingredients lined up and not all in one 2 foot square area.

(05 Jan '11, 23:27) Barry Render

Whenever I am at a catered buffet event, I think of queueing and make sure the caterer does not place the tables along a wall. When guests can take food from both sides, the wait time is halved.

I have a daily Operations Management blog for professors at www.heizerrenderom.wordpress.com at which all sorts of these issues are discussed.

link

answered 29 Dec '10, 16:53

Barry%20Render's gravatar image

Barry Render
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accept rate: 0%

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