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Release: Aug.1, 2002

Burer receives $255,818 NSF grant for optimization research

Sam Burer, an assistant professor in Management Sciences at the University of Iowa’s Henry B. Tippie College of Business, has received a $255,818 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his research on “Theory and Implementation of Semidefinite Programming and its Application to Combinatorial Optimization.”

Burer’s research involves the development and computer implementation of algorithms and techniques for optimizing specially structured mathematical problems. While theoretical at this stage, research on such structured mathematical problems can lead to the development of tools that can be used in business, statistics, finance, science and engineering. These tools can help provide solutions to complex decisions (such as determining how to minimize costs or maximize profits) when faced with an extremely large number of options.

Operations research, such as this done by Burer and collaborator Renato D.C. Monteiro, aims to provide a rational basis for decision making by seeking to understand and structure complex situations and to use this understanding to predict system behavior and improve system performance.

The three-year grant will support salaries, a research assistant, travel, equipment and supply costs. Burer’s collaborator, Renato D.C. Monteiro, is a professor at the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

The National Science Foundation funds research and education in science and engineering. This grant comes from the Numeric, Symbolic, and Geometric Computation program, which provides support for fundamental research in areas where advanced algorithmic and computational techniques are coupled with mathematical methods of analysis. This program is a part of the NSF’s Division of Computer-Communications Research (C-CR), which is dedicated to supporting research on the principles, key concepts and fundamental knowledge underlying information technology products, processes and services.

Burer received his doctorate in algorithms, combinatorics and optimization from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2001. He earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Georgia.

For more information, contact: Sam Burer at (319) 335-0931 or