Re: [OPE-L] A startling quotation from Engels

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Tue Aug 21 2007 - 08:39:32 EDT

You are obviously right about the data collection issue. What is
About Jacek Gondzio's work is that it achieves optimisations over
problems much
Larger than one would need for basic economic planning.

After speaking to him I realise that he gets such large numbers of
variables because
He is doing stochastic planning taking into account many different
scenarios. He 
Starts out with a basic problem having hundreds of thousands or millions
of variables,
And then projects forward to a large number of possible futures in order
to select
The current plan that is most future-proof, it is the thousands of
different futures
That are considered that push the number of varibles so high. This
future-proofing, as
Far as I know, goes far beyond anything attempted in the socialist

-----Original Message-----
From: OPE-L [mailto:OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU] On Behalf Of Ian Wright
Sent: 20 August 2007 22:52
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] A startling quotation from Engels

> I will be visiting Dr Gondzio at Edinburgh University tomorrow to
discuss the work he has
> been doing on solving linear programming problems with one billion
variables with
> novel algorithms. So this area is experiencing very significant
advances in the last
> few years.

I wonder if the problem is not one of computation but of
representation? One billion variables implies one billion explicit
definitions of distinct commodity types. It requires work to create
such definitions (e.g., defining the thousands of different kinds of
apples) and to categorise concrete instances of commodities. Plus, new
commodity types will appear and old ones will die, requiring continual
maintenance work to maintain the active list of commodity types that
constitute the dimensions of the IO matrix. Maybe you have a creative
solution to this problem, or accept the social cost. But perhaps a
linear programming representation of an economy is not a good one,
even for planning?

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