I’ve been doing a bit of research on the heads of BP. It seems that BP’s Executive Director, Byron Elmer Grote, earned a doctorate from Cornell University, back in 1981.

Grote’s dissertation (entitled “Exact and Heuristic Solution Procedures to the Dynamic Facility Location-Allocation Problem”) has some ironic aspects in view of the current BP oil spill. It’s about optimizing where to put things!

Quoting from the dissertation abstract:

Consideration of the dynamic facility location-allocation problem is necessary if total distribution costs are to be minimized over a planning horizon. This requires an evaluation of the three-way trade off between fixed, variable, and relocation costs and the determination of the proper timing of site openings and closings.

Comparisons are made on the basis of execution time, the number of network paths evaluated, and, for the heuristic procedures, deviation from optimality.

“Deviation from optimality,” indeed.