Back to the Future

Back to the Future is a science fiction film directed by Robert Zemeckis. It stars Michael J. Fox and was a critical and commercial success, earning $380 million (on a budget of $19 million) to become the highest-grossing film of 1985 worldwide.

I was back at MIT, staying at Kendall Hotel where I have had lunch dozens of times, in their outdoor patio, now closed due to COVID – to give an OM seminar, as I had mentioned in Conspicuous Leisure – on Quantum Integer Programming and Quantum Queuing, the future.

Since I could not get to Quantum Queuing, here is a (six-minute) video created by Krishna J (MIT EECS PhD alum, now at IIT-Madras):

Queue Channel Capacities with Generalized Amplitude Damping

Thanks to all for inviting me – again! I believe this is my 10thpresentation at MIT in 30 years, the first on quantum, the previous ones being on Grobner Basis, Supply Chains, SmartOps and OrganJet. Perhaps the only other University where I have been invited more times is Harvard, largely for OrganJet + GuardianWings, by Julie B, who recently (8/31/2021) published a book:

Power, for All.

I received a free copy last week, and so thought what can be better reading material on my flight to Boston! As I read Chapter 4, Who Controls Access to What we Value, I was struck by (see my previous post A Sketch of the Past):

And sometimes the social foci are simply personal passions and idiosyncratic interests that two people unexpected find they share, bringing them closer.

Chapter 5 – Power is Sticky, But it can be Disrupted – brings up the Myth of Meritocracy (that I have discussed in Brahmin Left + Merchant Right, that was also triggered by Michael Sandel’s book Tyranny of Merit). Chapter 6 – Agitate, Innovate, Orchestrate – is the framework Julie uses in her Power & Influence MBA elective at HBS and in her WEF Schwarz Fellows program HKS along with OrganJet + GuardianWings case. I liked Chapter 7 – Power Doesn’t Change; It just Changes Hands – especially privacy activist Max Schrems and his organization, noyb, short for “none of your business” and the quote from mathematician Cathy O’Neil:

Algorithms are opinions embedded in code.

It was great to meet up again with familiar colleagues – Georgia, Vivek, Karen, Retsef, Steve, Rob, Jonas, and Alex while meeting new folks – Negin, Daniel, Thodoris, Will – as well as PhD students, the new generation (some of them born after 1997, my sabbatical year at MIT 😳). Among other things, we discussed how my PhD students are INFORMS (and M&SOM) Fellows and Presidents of INFORMS and M&SOM, and this reminded me of BB King:

Well, I’ve been around a long time
I really have paid my dues

Now Father Time is catching up with me
Gone is my youth
I look in the mirror everyday
And let it tell me the truth

I’m singing the blues
Mm, I just have to sing the blues

Beyond the academic visit, it was wonderful to meet up with Rupal to discuss new directions for VocalID (at Alibi, one of my favorite joints when the weather is good – walking distance across Longfellow Bridge from MIT, in Liberty Hotel – so much so that I went again the next night (!) with Jonas after a wonderful dinner with Jonas, Daniel and Thodoris, the Spinach Gnocchi was excellent, by the way) and to visit David, in his new mansion 😊, in Newport, for an elegant evening of music and art. How could I resist the lure of Newbury Street? Stopped by at Pucker Gallery on Tuesday, lunched at Stephanie’s (for old time’s sake) and strolled around for a bit – perfect weather – before heading to Logan.

As I was finishing up the post, I saw the news about Mozzie, who was on a flight, in 2012, seated one row behind me, and graciously agreed to be photographed as we were getting off.

White Collar is an American police procedural drama television series, starring Tim DeKay as FBI Special Agent Peter Burke and Matt Bomer as Neal Caffrey, a highly intelligent and multitalented con artist working as Burke’s criminal informant. Another con man and close friend of Neal, Theodore Winters, most known as Mozzie, or Moz, is Neal’s most trusted confidant, played by Willie Garson.  Rotten Tomatoes reports a 100% approval rating for the first season, and, the website’s consensus reads: Featuring clever plotting and outstanding chemistry between its leads, White Collar is a witty, briskly-paced, caper series.






  1. Have you seen HBO Max’s “Hacks” … also 100% Rotten Tomatoes approval. My cousin’s kid, Jen Statsky, (Lithuanian) just won an Emmy for it.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion! I liked Hacks– looking forward to Season 2, when they are on the road..on a private jet!

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