What Real Life Problems Motivated the Creation of the (Famous) Simplex Algorithm?

I was reading about the (famous) Simplex Algorithm :

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My Question: Were there any real world problems that people (e.g. Dantzig) were working on that required the an algorithm similar to the Simplex Algorithm ? Or was the Simplex Algorithm developed as an exercise in pure mathematics, with no real intended application in mind other than to demonstrate certain theoretical properties of functions?



2 Answers 2


You may refer to

Dantzig, G.B., 2002. Linear Programming. Operations Research 50, 42–47. https://doi.org/10.1287/opre.

in which Dantzig introduced "The Story About How It (LP) Began".

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    $\begingroup$ You could expand the answer a bit if you want and describe the content so that this doesn't become a link-only answer. $\endgroup$ Jan 26 at 9:35

In Dantzig, G.B., 2002. Linear Programming. Operations Research 50, 42–47. https://doi.org/10.1287/opre., Dantzig states that his research was "in connection with the planning activities of the military." He was asked "to find a way to more rapidly compute a time-staged deployment, training and logistical supply program."

However, Dantzig worked with both economists and mathematicians. An interaction with Von Neumann, in particular, connected Dantzig's research with Von Neumann and Oscar Morgenstern on game theory.

He states that his research started in 1947, and the first commercial application ("optimal blending of petroleum products to make gasoline") was in 1952.


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