In Edelman’s Footsteps

by Paul Thompson on April 12th, 2011

Listening at the Edelman Gala last night, I was struck by the magnitude of the accomplishments that the presentations lauded and summarized.   And I was reminded of the words of the Spanish poet Antonio Machado: 

         “Caminante, son tus huellas el camino y nada más; Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar. Al andar se hace el camino, y al volver la vista atrás se ve la senda que nunca  se ha de volver a pisar. Caminante, no hay camino, sino estelas en el mar.”   (Proverbios y cantares, en Campos de Castilla, 1912). 

 These translate roughly as “Traveler, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; Traveler, there is no road, the road is made by walking.  By walking, you make the road, and on turning to look behind, you see the path that none will walk again.  Traveler, there is no road, only a wake on the sea.”

 Let us congratulate the Edelman Finalists.  Not in the sense of becoming what is sometimes referred to as a self-licking ice-cream cone, but rather in recognizing the that the work that these teams has done represents new efficiencies gained within commerce and society – changes that are enriching the quality of life of many people right now.

 Looking back, we see these groundbreaking accomplishments in the practice of Operations Research and Advanced Analytics – recent, significant steps that we and others have taken in the field of OR and Business Analytics.  Let us laud them.  But ours is the path forward.  Let us turn to the future and, in the spirit of Edelman, continue in the hard and often dirty work of forging forward with new steps to create a better world.

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