Economics is the study of how scarce resources are allocated. Operations research studies how to accomplish goals in the least costly manner. These fields have much to offer each other in terms of challenging problems that need to be solved and the techniques to solve them. This was the case after World War II, partly because the individuals who went on to be the leading scholars in economics and operations research worked together during WWII. In fact, the two fields share many early luminaries, including Arrow, Dantzig, Holt, Kantorovich, Koopmans, Modigliani, Scarf, and von Neumann. Unfortunately, as new generations of scholars took charge, those ties weakened, resulting in little interaction between operations research scholars and economists in the past three decades.
In recent years, some economists and applied mathematicians have worked to reestablish ties between these fields. This special issue of Operations Research is an important step in that effort. It is not meant to be just a collection of current research that is of interest to both economists and operations researchers. It is an example of what we hope is a future in which we will not need "special issues" to describe computational economics.
The papers in this issue cover a broad range of material, including the introduction of advanced mathematical techniques to computational economics, algorithm development and analysis, examples where advanced computational methods are used to solve important economic problems, and examples of where computational ideas are used to motivate concepts of bounded rationality.