On Creating MLB's Season Schedule

Michael Trick writes about his experiences scheduling all 2,430 games:

I began working on baseball scheduling in 1994, and it took ten years of hard work (first Doug and me, then the four of us) before MLB selected our schedule for play.

Why were we successful in 2004 and not in 1994? At the core, technology changed. The computers we used in 2004 were 1000 times faster than the 1994 computers. And the underlying optimization software was at least 1000 times faster. So technology made us at least one million times faster. And that made all the difference. Since then, computers and algorithms have made us 1000 times faster still. And, in addition, we learned quite a bit about how to best do complicated sports scheduling problems.

Until hearing about the Stephensons, the husband-and-wife duo Trick references, I was always under the impression that scheduling was done by computer, certainly at least in modern times. I was astonished, then, to learn that the Stephensons did all the scheduling manually, by hand using pen and paper. Amazing.

(via John Gruber)