Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
How Reason Almost Lost Its MindThe Strange Career of Cold War Rationality$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Paul Erickson, Judy L. Klein, Lorraine Daston, Rebecca Lemov, Thomas Sturm, and Michael D. Gordin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226046631

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226046778.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

The Bounded Rationality of Cold War Operations Research

The Bounded Rationality of Cold War Operations Research

(p.51) Two The Bounded Rationality of Cold War Operations Research
How Reason Almost Lost Its Mind

Paul Erickson

Judy L. Klein

Lorraine Daston

Paul Rebecca

Thomas Sturm

Michael D. Gordin

University of Chicago Press

Cold War military needs for cost-effective readiness induced a mathematical construction of rationality while simultaneously binding that rationality with computational reality. In 1947 in an effort to mechanize their planning process, the USAF constituted the Project for the Scientific Computation of Optimum Programs. George Dantzig developed mathematical models and algorithmic solutions for digital computation of an efficient allocation of resources to different USAF activities. In 1948 the Berlin Airlift served as an important prove of concept for Dantzig’s linear programming, but a lack of computational capacity forced Project SCOOP to make do with a sub-optimizing mathematical model. Herbert Simon and colleagues at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, also doing optimizations under military contract, found that their mathematical reach for best decisions exceeded their computational grasp. This chapter narrates the path from this dilemma to Simon’s conceptualizations of bounded rationality and procedural rationality.

Keywords:   Berlin Airlift, bounded rationality, procedural rationality, George Dantzig, Herbert Simon, management science, operations research, optimizations, Project SCOOP, Linear programming

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.