Sunday, April 21, 2002

How to Get There? It Counts the Ways "The founder of ITA, Jeremy Wertheimer, said that the company began as what he half-jokingly called a "thesis avoidance project." Mr. Wertheimer, 40, was a graduate student in artificial intelligence at M.I.T. in the early 1990's when he became interested in air-fare searching — a classic computer science problem.... A single round-trip can have hundreds of millions of fare combinations. Fares have a range of variables: the array of airlines serving the route, the number of daily flights, connecting flights and dozens of airline rules (things like passenger eligibility, seasonal restrictions and advance-purchase requirements). International trips have even more possibilities. "It's unfathomably complex," Mr. Wertheimer said."
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