Paris Tech's Balinski Wins INFORMS von Neumann Theory Prize


Ashley Smith
Public Affairs Coordinator

Bellwether of Nobel Prize

MINNEAPOLIS, October 8, 2013 – The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®), the leading association for professionals in analytics, today announced that Michel Balinski of C.N.R.S. and the École Polytechnique/Paris Tech in France was named the 2013 recipient of the association’s John von Neumann Theory Prize.

“Michel Balinski has made major theoretical and practical contributions in both traditional and nontraditional areas of operations research and management science over the decades,” said Yinyu Ye of Stanford University, speaking at the INFORMS Annual Meeting in Minnesota.

The John von Neumann Theory prize is awarded annually to a scholar who has made fundamental, sustained contributions to theory in operations research and the management sciences. The Prize is highly respected and an important bellwether. Von Neumann Prize winners – including John Nash and Lloyd Shapley – have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.

The award citation read, in part,

[Michel Balinski’s] contributions in linear and nonlinear optimization include an algorithm for finding all optimal solutions to linear programs, a primal/dual simplex method that incorporates a natural proof of termination and leads to a self-contained, elementary but rigorous, constructive account of the theory and the basic computational tool of linear programming;  the use and economic interpretation of dual prices; and a proof that prices in von Neumann’s model of an expanding economy are marginal values…

Balinski’s most important contributions are in the domain of electoral decisions, namely, representation and apportionment on the one hand, and voting on the other. They are significant, innovative, deep, and of the highest scientific excellence. His papers and book with  H. P. Young,Fair Representation: Meeting the Ideal of One Man, One Vote, have had direct practical application in several countries. The book received the 2008 George H. Hallett Award of the American Political Science Association “for a book published at least 10 years ago that has made a lasting contribution to … representation and electoral systems.” His most recent book with Rida Laraki,Majority Judgment: Measuring, Ranking, and Electing, proves that majority judgment is the only method that satisfies the important traditional criteria of social choice.

The award was presented at a ceremony at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Sunday, October 6 during the INFORMS 2013 Annual Meeting. The meeting, from October 6-9, brings together 4,000 leading professionals and researchers in Big Data, analytics, operations research, and management science.


The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) is the leading professional society made up of the foremost minds in the world of analytics. More than 10,000 members worldwide, including Nobel Prize laureates, turn to INFORMS to provide leading industry best practices, training and events focused on data analytics and operations research. Members of INFORMS work in business, government and academia and represent fields as diverse as airlines, health care, law enforcement, the military, financial services, retail, engineering and telecommunications. The society serves the scientific and professional needs of operations research analysts, experts in “big data” and analytics, consultants, scientists, students, educators and managers, as well as their institutions. It publishes a variety of journals, hosts conferences, extends certification in analytics (CAP), offers continuing education courses, and provides its members with a large choice of special interest groups and local chapters. Further information about INFORMS can be found online at or @informs.