Another One Bites the Dust

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Another One Bites the Dust” is a song by the British rock band Queen. It was a worldwide hit.

This, and Hotel California (by Eagles), were among the very first English songs whose lyrics I had memorized as a teenager.

My PhD thesis committee – in addition to my advisor Robin Roundy – consisted of Narahari Umanath Prabhu (Uma) and Richard W. Conway (Dick). This post was triggered by the recent communication I received from Cornell that Dick had recently passed away (at 92), and it reminded me of another one from a little over a year ago, when Uma passed away (at 98).

Two of the classic books that I still have in my office are Queues and Inventories and Theory of Scheduling. Indeed, it was from Queues and Inventories, that I got the idea to connect capacitated, discrete-time inventory model operated by base stock policy to a Dam Model, and write this paper, that triggered a series of very consequential work, both academically and practically, in the area of Inventory Models:

Computing the optimal policy for capacitated inventory models.

Some of you remember my PhD Proposal talk (in 1989). I opened with a quiz ☺️, to my committee and the other faculty in the audience, with four multiple-choice questions, and threw down the gauntlet:

If you are able to answer these correctly, I will not speak any further, and you can fail me.

Yes, I was cocky.

Of course, no one got them right, and the paper was published in Management Science:

Structural Properties and a Heuristic for Kanban-Controlled Serial Lines.

The reason for this “in your face” opening was Dick: he (and Bill Maxwell) always dismissed any presentation (outside seminar speakers, PhD students and so on) with things like:

I thought about this in the shower, and had the good sense to leave it there.

My dear child, who is responsible for this muddled thinking?

So, I decided to fight back – pre-empt such comments that are easy to make after the fact – by calling their bluff!

Now for the fun stuff.

My friend in Sewickley just returned from Amelia Island, and exclaimed that I had missed a Ferrari Feast! So, I checked up on the Auction results. Of course, many of the results were not surprising: a 1964 Ferrari 250 GTO sold for $3 million. Yawn. What caught my attention was that a 2005 612 Scaglietti – similar to the one I drive to get groceries or get a haircut – went for an inexplicable

$467,000.😳

There is way too much dumb money out there. Awesome!☺️

Let me close with two enjoyable books I read this past few weeks.

Bob Dylan. The Philosophy of Modern Song.

Michael Schulman. Oscar Wars.

3 comments

  1. Ha ha, I remember both and also still have those books. Bill Maxwell was always very nice to me … closed my party at 7 AM after the 1st Ann Arbor FMS conference in 1984. I would love to see him again.
    Also similar: my committee didn’t believe me at 1st when I told them about the “Optimality of Unbalancing both Workloads and Machine Group Sizes in Closed Queueing Networks of Multiserver Queues”, later published in Operations Research. Current research by many was studying ALB.

    1. Nice! Are you planning to attend POM in Minneapolis or Cornell OTIM (in honor of Nagesh)?

  2. Yes, see you in Minneapolis. We should look for some blues there with Tinglong. Next I’ll be at INFORMS, Medellín, Columbia. Tinglong will be in Medellín too. I haven’t received any information about the Nagesh remembrance?

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