for those unfamiliar with pune (or poona as it was known before the anglicized version was dropped), it is a city in western india that has, over the last decade or so, quietly established itself alongside bangalore and hyderabad as a hotspot for tech activity. it is the home of PuneTech.com a site that "brings together in one place all information about interesting software technology in Pune - the companies, the tech user groups and organizations, the people, and the technologies, the news and the events."
last year, amit paranajape, a friend, former colleague, and co-founder of PuneTech.com encouraged me to write a piece about "optimization" for publication in PuneTech. for reasons that may have something to do with the fact that i've made a living for a couple of decades as a practitioner of that dark art known as optimization, he felt that i was best qualified to write about the subject for an audience that was technically savvy but not necessarily aware of the application of optimization. it took me a while to overcome my initial reluctance: is there really an audience for this? after all, even my daughter feigns disgust every time i bring up the topic of what i do. after some thought, i accepted the challenge as long as i could take a slightly unusual approach to a "technical" topic: i decided to personalize it by rooting it in a personal-professional experience. i could then branch off into a variety of different aspects of that experience, some technical, some not so much.
what followed was a series of postings that began with "Optimization: A case study". in this entry, i recounted the details of one of my first engagements as a professional. it was an experience that was rich with potential for learning, perhaps made more so by the combination of boundless enthusiasm and naivete that are hallmarks of a young man who is has been recently unleashed on the real world.
i followed this with a series of articles, each of which was intended to expand on a particular aspect of the learning experience.
in the first of the follow-up articles titled "Architecture of a decision-support system", i shared my ideas on how one ought to think about decision-support systems. the ideas i present there are not exactly earth-shattering. instead, they are born from the many scars that i bear from the times when i let my technical training get ahead of the needs for decision-making in the real world.