Farewell to GAMS World - A Bridge between Academia and Industry

Posted on: 01 Jun, 2023


In the ever-evolving landscape of the internet, websites come and go, reflecting the changing needs and priorities of their users. After two decades of serving as a hub for mathematical programming enthusiasts, the time has come to bid adieu to GAMS World . Founded with the noble vision of bridging the gap between academia and industry, this website made significant contributions in its prime, fostering the exchange of specialized knowledge and promoting collaboration. In this article, we reminisce about the purpose and achievements of GAMS World, explore its impact on the field of mathematical optimization, and understand the reasons behind its decommissioning.

Bridging the Gap: The Vision of GAMS World

Launched 20 years ago, GAMS World aimed to address the challenges faced in the application of mathematical programming to real-world problems. Despite the significant advancements in algebra-based modeling systems, algorithms, and computer codes, the practical implementation of these tools fell short of expectations. The website recognized the need for specialized knowledge and domain-specific expertise in translating real-world problems into effective operational systems. It aimed to collect and disseminate such knowledge outside the established channels, in turn facilitating better collaboration between academia and industry.

Disseminating Domain-Specific Information

One of the key objectives of GAMS World was to provide a platform for the dissemination of domain-specific information that often remained inaccessible due to its unique content or form. While model structures and results were frequently published in academic and commercial papers, reproducing or utilizing these findings in different studies proved challenging. GAMS World sought to overcome these obstacles by offering well-focused and maintained services, enabling researchers and practitioners to share problems, solutions, and data. By doing so, the website played a vital role in encouraging the development and refinement of optimization algorithms.

Model Libraries: Testing Optimization Software

A significant contribution of GAMS World was its publication of model libraries, serving as valuable resources for testing optimization software. Two decades ago, software quality assurance (SQA) was an overlooked aspect in the realm of mathematical optimization software. The website played a pivotal role in raising awareness about the importance of SQA and its impact on the reliability and effectiveness of optimization systems. GAMS World’s model libraries provided a wide range of test cases and models, helping developers refine their software implementations. It also advocated for a common format, known as “scalar models,” facilitating seamless translation between different software systems and enabling collaborative benefits among competing platforms.

The Changing Landscape and Farewell

As the years passed, the field of optimization software underwent significant transformation. The importance of software quality assurance became well-established, and abundant models and data became readily available. The heyday of GAMS World gradually receded, signaling the need for change. Additionally, the website’s design, reminiscent of the Y2K era, became outdated, lacking the modern appeal expected by users in today’s digital age. These factors, combined with the evolving landscape of mathematical optimization, ultimately led to the decision to decommission the GAMS World website. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that efforts were made to salvage and preserve the still valuable collection of models that had accumulated over the years. Recognizing their enduring significance, GAMS World’s legacy lives on through the publication of these models on GitHub under the repository name GAMS-dev/gamsworld . By making these models freely available to the optimization community, GAMS-dev ensures that the wealth of knowledge and the practical applications contained within them can continue to benefit researchers, developers, and practitioners worldwide. This act of preserving and sharing the models on a widely accessible platform reflects the spirit of collaboration and knowledge sharing that GAMS World championed throughout its existence.

Gratitude and Farewell

As we bid farewell to GAMS World, it is essential to express gratitude to the countless visitors, contributors, and editorial members who shaped and nurtured this remarkable platform over the years. Their collective efforts fostered collaboration, disseminated valuable knowledge, and promoted advancements in the field of mathematical programming. GAMS World will always hold a special place in the memories of those who found inspiration and guidance within its virtual walls.