Mathematics Accomplishment | 1983
Where the work was done: IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
What we accomplished: A heuristic to optimize functions avoiding local minima.
Related links: Wikipedia entry on simulated annealing.
Image credit: Simulated annealing searching for a maximum. The objective here is to get to the highest point; however, it is not enough to use a simple hill climb algorithm, as there are many local maxima. By cooling the temperature slowly the global maximum is found. By Kingpin13 - Own work, CC0.