‘shortest-path algorithm’...Sheeet, I could have used that back in the “Bar-a-Block” heyday of Guttenberg.
Richard Hoshino is a tall, slim mathematician, as tightly wound as a precision timepiece, and irrepressibly polite and cheerful. He also has a hard time taking “no” for an answer.
Eager to share his love of math and its practical applications, Hoshino is committed to helping solve real-world environmental problems using mathematics — for example, in the area of sports scheduling.
That’s right, sports scheduling.
Using mathematical techniques (nearly unfathomable to this writer), Hoshino and his research supervisor, Ken-ichi Kawarabayashi, at the National Institute of Informatics, have developed a distance-optimal schedule for Nippon Professional Baseball that takes into consideration many of the league’s constraints, while reducing total travel distance by 25 percent, or about 70,000 km.
...The researchers met with Ogaki three times in September, each for several hours.
“Ogaki-san was astounded by the strength of the computer program we wrote. Based on the theory we invented, we input the information they give us and within four minutes our program generates schedules that satisfy all of the constraints, while ensuring that each team has the same number of weekday and weekend games,” reported Hoshino.
“I was shocked that the NPB does this by hand — and they’ve been doing it this way for decades, and this manual six-week process is done by the director of the Central League, one of the most senior people in the head office. In Major League Baseball they hire a team of mathematicians to produce their regular-season schedules.
Posted: November 25, 2012 at 08:36 AM | 44 comment(s)
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