Mathematica Helps Optimally Place Patrol Agents at California's Ports

"I used Mathematica to come up with a model that places the optimal number of our agents at each port to minimize the number of fish violations."

Fishermen off the coast of California better be careful about what they snag in their nets--especially since Wes Silverthorne, an economist at the National Marine Fishery Service, hooked up with Mathematica.

Silverthorne used Mathematica to optimally place fish patrol agents at California's ports to reduce the number of illegal fish that are brought to the docks. He cast this as a constrained minimization problem and used Mathematica to examine the percent of landings at each port, the number of fish violations at that same port, and the amount of time it takes agents to get to each port.

"Our agents are thinly spread in only five locations; however, there are 20 ports to patrol in California," Silverthorne said. "I used Mathematica to come up with a model that places the optimal number of our agents at each port to minimize the number of fish violations."



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