Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A new paper

We just have a new paper coming up in a journal. It's not a "cognitive decision science" paper. It's a "decision science" one. I first wrote the original version in 2003, and it's finally coming out, after some rounds of review. Should you be interested, please email me for a preprint.

Here's the full reference:

Theory of constraints and the combinatorial complexity of the product mix decision

A. Linhares

To appear in the International Journal of Production Economics

Abstract: The Theory of Constraints (TOC) proposes that, when production is bounded by a single bottleneck, the best product mix heuristic is to select products based on their ratio of throughput per constraint use. This is not true for cases when production is limited to integer quantities of final products. We demonstrate four facts which go directly against current thought in the TOC literature. For example, there are cases on which the optimum product mix includes products with lowest product margin and lowest ratio of throughput per constraint time, simultaneously violating the margin heuristic and the TOC-derived heuristic. Such failures are due to the NP-hardness of the product mix decision problem, also demonstrated here.

Swine flu: What can you do?

As of this moment, all schools in Mexico are closed down.

The Swine Flu outbreak has possible cases in more than 20 countries, in ALL continents. Here are the symptoms, uploaded to Wikipedia by some great soul:

The good news is that THERE IS something you can do, if you want to help (and protect yourself in the process). It is the exact same that the uploader has done.

The entire planet will be looking for news over this, and here information saves lives. Millions of people will, eventually, read the Wikipedia page. If you do want to help in fighting this, here's a tip: study the news. Study the Wikipedia page, and update any missing information in there.

If your natural language is not English, work on the local Wikipedia page. If you understand English, consider translating the English page to your language. Translation to the Spanish page may be the best thing right now. You don't have to do the whole page, of course. But each minute, or hour, you devote to it may save lives. If this is a serious threat to us all, you can actually save lives by dedicating yourself for a few hours. Think about that.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

FARGonauts, rejoice!

This week, The American Academy of Arts & Sciences elected Doug Hofstadter as a fellow.

If you don't know what that means, you may go back to your TV now.

We are not only cheering for the recognition of Doug's gigantic accomplishments, but we also expect more people to show an interest in the field of FARGonautics.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009