Many OR researchers are challenged with developing algorithms and models for real problems (e.g., industrial, government, military, non-profit, etc problems) -- without access to real data or applications specialists. The RPX is an initiative to explore solutions to this challenging problem. Read more in ORMS Today.

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Upcoming Events:
Join the discussions shaping the Exchange at the INFORMS Practice Meeting

Roundtable Discussion 1

Discussion over lunch will stimulate and gage interest in the Exchange and encourage attendance at evening breakout sessions.
  • What would be the expected gain for contributors?
  • Is it worth the investment in time and energy for companies to participate?
  • What would a problem or data contribution to the archive look like?
  • How would a library of real problems and data work?
  • Is there any bottom-line short-term benefit for the contributor? Or is this mostly for the “good of the profession?”
  • Are there opportunities for companies in the same industry to cooperate in establishing archetypical “real” problems and data for their mutual benefit?
  • Are we at a “tipping point” with current technology that some of the past roadblocks can be overcome (e.g., XML for data formats)?
  • Is there government support for establishing and maintaining this type of infrastructure initiative?
- Facilitators: Crowder, Fourer, Heltne, Kempf, Lougee-Heimer, Lowe, Willems, and others.
- Monday lunch, 12:30-2pm

Form & Content Discussion

Dave Heltne and Karl Kempf will present strawman examples to stimulate discussion around the form and content of the problems and data in the Exchange. The goal of this working meeting is to identify the key issues and questions for follow-on action and a summary article in ORMS Today.
  • Should the problems be company-specific, industry-specific, or as generic as possible (recognizing that companies would like their specific problem solved but that academics gain tenure by publishing papers that are as broadly applicable as possible)?
  • Can the problems be stated in such a way that they are clear but solution-free (because we hope to foster multiple solution approaches to each problem in the set)? Or should the problems be stated as a challenge with the possibility of a best answer?
  • Can the data sets be supplied in a compact form yet still be used to generate a large number of problem instances?
  • What would motivate the research community to provide solutions to the problems?
- Facilitators: Heltne and Kempf
- Monday Birds-of-a-Feather, 5:30-6:30pm

Policies, Procedures, and Systems Discussion

Bob Fourer and Robin Lougee-Heimer will present a strawman for how the Exchange might work to stimulate discussion. The goal of this working meeting is to gain clarity on the important issues and questions for follow-on action and a summary article in ORMS Today
  • Should anyone be able to deposit any problem in the Exchange? Should there be a strict format? Should there be some review before insertion?
  • How much support from the author of the problem will be required by interested researchers? What kinds of support mechanisms should be available (e.g., (telephone access, email access, question and answer areas on the website)?
  • Should a dictionary of terms be provided to ensure terminology is well understood between the research community and industry?
  • Should solutions be posted on the Exchange or published in the literature or both? (It would be useful to always have a pointer to the best known solution to each problem.)
  • How can the Exchange be supported? Should the posers pay each time they insert a new problem, or only when a superior solution is supplied, or should there be a paid subscription mechanism?
  • Should there be corporate and institutional sponsors?
- Facilitators: Fourer & Lougee-Heimer
- Monday Birds-of-a-Feather, 5:30-6:30pm

Roundtable Discussion 2

Discussion over lunch on whether there is sufficient interest and commitment to establish a working prototype so that initial experience from problem posers and problem solvers can be reported during the INFORMS Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, November 5-8, 2006.

- Facilitators: Crowder, Fourer, Heltne, Kempf, Lougee-Heimer, Lowe, Willems, and others.
- Tuesday lunch, 12:30-2pm