In 1947 Dantzig made the contribution
to mathematics
for which he is most famous, the simplex method of optimisation. It
grew
out of his work with the U.S. Air Force where he become an expert on
planning
methods solved with desk calculators. In fact this was known as
"programming",
a military term that, at that time, referred to plans or schedules for
training, logistical supply or deployment of men.
Dantzig mechanised the planning process by
introducing
"linear programming", where "programming" has the military meaning
explained
above. The importance of linear programming methods was described, in
1980,
by Laszlo Lovasz who wrote:-

*If one would
take statistics
about which mathematical problem is using up most of the*

* computer time in
the world,
then ... the answer would probably be linear programming.*

Also in 1980 Eugene Lawler wrote:-

*[Linear programming] is used to allocate
resources,
plan production, schedule workers,*

* plan investment portfolios and
formulate marketing
(and military) strategies. The versatility and
economic
impact of linear programming in today's industrial world is truly
awesome.*

Dantzig however modestly wrote:-

*The tremendous power of the simplex
method is a constant
surprise to me.*