Spring 2006 UMASS Amherst
Operations Research / Management Science Seminar Series

Date: Friday, April 7, 2006

Time: 11:00 AM
Location: Isenberg School of Management, Room 112

Speaker: Professor Dietrich Braess

Faculty of Mathematics
Ruhr University Bochum
Bochum, Germany

Biography: Dietrich Braess was born in Hamburg in 1938. He studied  mathematics and physics in Hamburg and Munich and graduated in 1964 with a PhD thesis on physics of elementary particles. In 1967 he moved to the Institute of Mathematics at the University of Muenster where he was promoted to associate professor in 1971. After being visiting professor in the University of Texas-Austin in the fall of 1973, he received the position of a full professor (for Numerical Mathematics) at the Ruhr-University of Bochum. In the 60's and 70's his research was focused on nonlinear approximation theory. In 1980 he got interested in multigrid methods for the solution of partial differential equations and finite elements. There are a lot of counterintuitive effects; in particular, in applications in solid mechanics that are challenging. His book on Finite Elements is often used in lectures for graduate students. Professor Braess is the discoverer of the famous paradox named after him.

TITLE: A Paradox of Traffic Planning
Abstract: The equilibrium in a traffic network can differ substantially from the distribution that a system optimizer can create. In some special situations a new road can deteriorate the equilibrium and imply larger travel times for all cars. This is a mathematical statement. Psychological effects make us experience counterintuitive deteriorations of traffic more frequently. In principle, similar effects occur also in the world wide web, but there the deteriorations are bounded and more easily tolerated.

This series is organized by the UMASS Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter. Support for this series is provided by the Isenberg School of Management, the Department of Finance and Operations Management, INFORMS, and the John F. Smith Memorial Fund. The Chapter wishes to thank Professor Anna Nagurney, its Faculty Advisor, for her help and  support of this series.

For questions, please contact the INFORMS Student Chapter Represnetative, Ms. Tina Wakolbinger, wakolbinger@som.umass.edu