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Nobel Laureate in Economics John F. Nash visits GERAD

May 31, 2005 - Source : NEWS
John F. Nash, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences, gave a plenary talk as part of the 2005 Optimization Days, organized this year by the Groupe d'études et de recherche en analyse des décisions (Research Group in Decision Analysis -- GERAD). Professors Guy Desaulniers and Alain Hertz of the Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering  helped put together the event, which took place from May 9 to 11.

Professor Nash, famous for his remarkable contributions to game theory, spoke on the subject of co-operative games between two or three players. In a co-operative game, players attempt to co-ordinate their strategies to optimize their joint well-being and determine a way of sharing collective wealth based on desirable criteria (e.g., equity, altruism). Professor Nash contrasted his sharing approach with classic solutions to co-operative games.

In 1994, at age 66, Professor Nash shared the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences with two co-winners. His work on game theory--including the Nash equilibrium and the Nash arbitration scheme, concepts that are applied universally today--has allowed researchers to better understand problems of competition and co-operation among agents (players) and to develop tools so as to come up with concrete solutions in a number of disciplines.

Professor Nash's presence in Montréal was a fine way to mark the 25th anniversary of GERAD, which celebrated the milestone with an international symposium on May 12 and 13, following the Optimization Days. May 11 also saw the launch of 10 commemorative books authored in part by Polytechnique professors.

GERAD is one of the five leading operational research centres in the world. The multidisciplinary centre brings together some 40 professors and researchers, including several from the Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering, while over 180 MSc and PhD students collaborate on research projects. Since its founding in 1979, GERAD has developed expertise in a number of sectors, in particular transportation, energy and logistics. Several studies conducted at the interuniversity centre have led to practical applications, including mathematical models and effective software solutions, many of them used around the world today.

L. to r.: Guy Desaulniers, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering; Alain Hertz, Professor of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering; Mrs. Nash; Prof. John F. Nash; Michèle Breton, Professor, HEC Montréal; Georges Zaccour, Professor, HEC Montréal and Director, GERAD.

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