25th EURO-k Conference in Vilnius, Lithunia, July 2011

Celebration of EURO and its Presidents, Tuesday 16:30-17:30


A special session was arranged as part of the EURO 2011 conference to celebrate EURO and its Presidents. The first part of the session was an important presentation by the first EURO President, Hans-Jürgen Zimmermann, with the following abstract:

40 years ago, i.e. in 1972, the world looked quite different from today: Logistics were slower and more complicated: The best way to travel from Europe to the USA was by ship, which took between 5 and 13 days. Alternatively one could take a "Super Constellation" and go via Island in 24 hours. There were no electronic booking systems, customs-and passport control at each European Border, but no security systems at airports, no terrorism and no hijacking of planes. Communication was as clumsy: No fax, no email, no courier services, a letter between Europe and oversees took two to three weeks, each single letter had to be typed ,and there were neither social nets nor a www. Professionally there existed three large OR-journals (and a number of small national ones), East and West was separated by the Iron Curtain. "Large" OR-Societies existed in the USA, Japan and Great Britain and in Europe there were a dozen of smaller national OR Societies. There was hardly any communication between these European societies and if one wanted to know what was going on in OR in another European country, the best way was, to ask a colleague in the USA. In the USA Ackoff had stated (in 1979) "American Operations Research is dead though not yet buried". Under these circumstances the presidents of the European OR societies met at the IFORS conference 1972 in Dublin and came to the conclusion, that this situation of OR in Europe was sub-optimal and should be improved. They met again in 1973 and 1974 and decided to organize the first European OR conference at the end of January 1975 in Brussels. There were 500 participants and the representatives of 10 European countries. In the framework of this conference EURO was founded, 7 European working groups were started, the EURO-bulletins was started and it was decided to prepare the publication of a European OR journal (EJOR). In the meantime EURO has 30 member countries, several professional journals, about 30 working groups, several very successful types of events, several prizes and awards, a very impressive web-page, and has had 25 successful EURO conferences. Hence: EURO has turned out to be a very successful organization. The success of OR can, however, not only be measured by the manifold growth of EURO ! As an applied discipline the situation of OR in Europe should also be considered from the point of view of available OR-tools, from its public visibility, the areas of applications, the education in this area, and its relationship to other disciplines that have emerged in the meantime and are relevant for OR. In some of these dimensions OR can certainly also be considered to be very successful. In others there are still or again big challenges that have to be met, if OR is also to be successful in the future. In this presentation some of these challenges will be considered in more detail and some ways suggested, how they can possibly be met.

Past Presidents in VilniusThere followed a special celebration to recognise the 17 former EURO Presidents with a crystal award. Sadly Bernard Roy [1985-1986], Maurice Shutler [1993-1994], and Rolf Tomlinson [1981-1982] were unable to attend. The photo shows all other former presidents receiving their award.

In order left-right: Hans-Jürgen Zimmermann [1975-1978], Birger Rapp [1979-1980], Jean-Pierre Brans [1983-1984], Dominique de Werra [1987-1988], Jakob Krarup [1989-1990], Philippe Van Asbroeck [Permanent Secretary], Jaap Spronk [1991-1992], Paolo Toth [1995-1996], Jan WÄ™glarz [1997-1998], Christoph Schneeweiß [1999-2000], Philippe Vincke [2001-2002], Laureano Escudero [2003-2004], Alexis Tsoukiàs [2005-2006], Martine Labbé [2007-2008], Valerie Belton [2009-2010], M. Grazia Speranza [2011-2012], Gerhard Wäscher [2013-2014]

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