David Applegate and William Cook, leading scientists in the field of discrete optimization, have joined the Computational and Applied Mathematics Department (CAAM) and the CRPC Optimization Group at Rice University. Says CAAM professor and CRPC researcher Robert Bixby, "With the addition of Cook and Applegate, Rice and the CRPC have arguably the world's foremost research group in computational integer programming and discrete optimization."

Bixby has collaborated closely with Applegate and Cook on the Traveling Salesman Problem (see "Parallel Profile, Robert Bixby,", and other research projects. CAAM Noah Harding Professor and CRPC Optimization Project Director John Dennis is enthusiastic about the new additions and the boost this gives to Rice University's planned development of telecommunications research. Of his own research, Dennis says, "I am hoping that these additions will eventually lead to CRPC research on nonlinear mixed integer programming. This area is important to engineering and finance, but it is very difficult since it requires expertise in both continuous and discrete optimization."

Applegate received his B.S. in both computer science and mathematics from the University of Dayton in 1984. He spent the next year working with the Structural Integrity Group at the University of Dayton Research Institute, then went to graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University, where he received his Ph.D. in computer science in 1991. Applegate then joined the Mathematical Sciences Research Center of AT&T Bell Labs as a member of the technical staff until accepting his current position as an associate professor at CAAM. "From my past association with the CRPC as a graduate student and at Bell Labs, I am impressed by both its computational resources and efficient organization," says Applegate. "I am looking forward to working more closely with the CRPC now that I'm at Rice Unversity."

Cook received his B.A. in mathematics at Rutgers University in 1979 and his M.S. in operations research at Stanford University in 1980. He obtained his Ph.D. in combinatorial optimization from the University of Waterloo in 1983, then spent the following two years as an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at the Institute for Operations Research at the University of Bonn, Germany. He worked as an assistant professor at Cornell University and associate professor at Columbia University before joining the technical staff of Bellcore in 1988. In 1994, Cook was promoted to senior scientist there. He spent 18 months as the John von Neumann Professor at the Research Institute for Discrete Mathematics at the University of Bonn before joining CAAM as a Noah Harding Professor. Of his new position he says, "It is very exciting to be a new member of the Optimization Group and I am looking forward to taking part in the active research environment that is made possible by the CRPC."

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