Solutions to problems aren’t always obvious. By that I mean mathematically modelled solutions to real life problems. This image of my favourite book from my university operations research course perhaps illustrates that I have some understanding in this area.
I was particularly struck recently by this article which looks at how UPS (in the US) calculates the best routes for its trucks. The answer? Never turn left! It seems crazy. How can that be the best option? Well, the answer is simple. At any one turn it may not be. The truck could be first in the queue with nothing coming the other way to stop it. Then it would be the best option. But over time, with a large number of trucks and a large number of deliveries, the best option, in terms of time, fuel saving and safety is to never turn left.
I was thinking about this in…
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