The main focus of my research so far has been on the integration of optimization techniques. Although I have used Integer Programming theory, I hadn’t (until recently) done research on creating new IP theory. Perhaps as a result of that, I spent many years unaware of Optima, the newsletter of the Mathematical Programming Society. Thanks to my recent trip to the ISMP, however, I was able to get a hold of issues 76 through 79 of Optima (they’re also available online). A quick browse through the pages left me with a very good impression. Every single issue had a discussion or short paper on a topic that interested me, and I can’t wait to sit down to read them more carefully (see for instance Javier Peña‘s article on Nash Equilibria Computation via Smoothing Techniques (Nov 2008 issue); Texas Hold’em poker anyone?). I particularly like the fact that the short papers are written at a more accessible level (at least to me), when compared to papers published in Mathematical Programming; it’s a great way to get introduced to a new topic. Another great feature are the Discussion Columns, which give expert opinions and historical perspectives about a variety of topics.
I’m glad I came across Optima and did not shy away from grabbing some of the free issues available at ISMP. I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in the field of mathematical programming.