Each of us is interested in optimization, and telecommunications. Via several meetings,
conferences, chats, and other opportunities, we have discovered these joint interests and
decided to put together this book.
It certainly wasn’t easy. What made it difficult is partly the reason for this book in the
first place: things are moving fast! As researchers in both industry and academia, we are
under constant pressure to keep up with new technologies and opportunities. Part of our day
jobs involves developing good algorithms for a steady surge of new problems arising from
industry. Another part of our day jobs involves finding realistic problems which might yield
to some of the algorithms we have developed, which we particularly like, but which don’t
work on anything else. The remainder of our day jobs tends to involve lecturing (for two of
us), project management (for all of us), and things like exam-setting and marking. Finally,
for two of us, childcare takes up a substantial part of our night jobs. Naturally, the book was
finished when we worked out how to stuff 46 hours into a single day, and keep that up for a
few successive weeks.
Seriously, though, telecommunicatons is growing and changing very quickly, and all of
this involves the increasing availability of new real-world problems for optimization
researchers to address. Telecommunications engineers tend to know all about the problems
involved, but are often not aware of developments in computer science and artificial
intelligence which might go a long way towards solving those problems. We therefore
argue, at the beginning of Chapter 1, that there needs to be more collaboration between the
communities, so that both sides can be equipped for the challenges ahead. Indeed, this book
is the result of one such collaboration.
We have oriented it slightly towards the telecommunications engineer who knows little
about the computational techniques, rather than the other way around. This is mainly
because it is much easier to describe the techniques than it is to describe the
telecommunications issues; the latter is a much larger collection. However, individual
chapters go into some detail, often at an introductory level, in describing particular kinds of
problem. Also, we provide a brief introduction to the essence of the problems at the
beginning of each part.
Let us know what you think. In particular, if you are a telecommunications engineer,
and have been inspired by a chapter or two in this book to try out some techniques that you
otherwise wouldn’t have, please get in touch: your story may make it into the next edition!