Thomas E. Caywood

May 9, 1919 – December 19, 2008

Brief Biography

Caywood Presidential Gallery Photo

Thomas Caywood was the eighteenth President of the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA) and third editor of the organization’s journal, Operations Research. Caywood received his first two degrees at Cornell College (Iowa) and Northwestern University before joining the Harvard Systems Research Laboratory. During World War II he worked alongside the U.S. Navy’s Combat Information Center. Caywood remained at Harvard for his PhD and moved to the University of Chicago’s Institute for Air Weapons Research. Caywood left the University of Chicago to become the Supervisor of Operations Research at the Armour Research Foundation.  In 1953 he co-founded Caywood-Shiller Associates, the first independent operations research consulting firm. For the next twenty-five years Caywood worked on military and industry contracts, consulting the National Science Foundation, the Operations Evaluation Group of the U.S. Navy and the National Bureau of Standards.

Caywood dealt with the application of traditional OR methodologies to military activity. In 1954, he gave a talk at the Cowles Commission on the problems of applied game theory. The following year, he offered a game theory solution to pilot scenarios.  He continued working with the Department of Defense as a member of the Defense Science Board and as chairman of the Advisory Panel of Ordinance. 

A specialist in probability and simulation, Caywood was responsible for bringing computer-based modeling to a variety of industries and areas. He conducted some initial studies on such early computers as the Bell Relay Computer, ORDVAC, and ENIAC. Caywood helped develop the industrial application of linear programming to livestock feeds and agriculture. He also made advances in costumer credit approval and delinquent accounts with the use of numerical scoring. Additionally, Caywood dealt with advancing operations research into various management systems in health care and other professions.

Caywood was a founding member of ORSA in 1952. He was elected president of the organization in 1969 after having spent four years as editor of Operations Research. After his term, Caywood served as chairman of the committee that developed the 1971 ORSA Guidelines. His work was able to reconcile the many conflicting positions that existed within the organization. He was subsequently awarded ORSA’s George E. Kimball Medal for his service. For his contributions to military OR, Caywood received the Jacinto Steinhardt Prize from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). In 2002, he was elected to the inaugural class of INFORMS Fellows.

After retiring from consultant work, Caywood taught Operations Research as a lecturer at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business, spending his winters at California State University-Hayward. He passed away at eighty-nine in Peoria, Arizona.

Other Biographies

INFORMS. Miser-Harris Presidential Gallery: Thomas E. Caywood. Accessed March 12, 2015. (link)


Cornell College (Iowa), AB 1939

Northwestern University, MA 1940

Harvard University, PhD 1947 (Mathematics Genealogy)


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas
  • Livestock & Agriculture

Awards and Honors

George E. Kimball Medal 1974

Jacinto Steinhardt Prize 1999

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2002

Professional Service

Operations Research Society of America, President 1969

Selected Publications

Caywood T. E. & Thomas C. J. (1955) Applications of Game Theory in Fighter versus Bomber Combat. Journal of the Operations Research Society of America, 3(4): 402-411.

Caywood T. E. (1958) Operations Research as a Management Resource. Hospital Administration, 3(2): 42-49.

Caywood T. E. (1970) How can we improve operations research?. Operations Research, 18(4): 569-576.

Caywood T. E. (1971) Guidelines for the Practice of Operations Research. Operations Research Society of America: New York.

Additional Resources

(2008) Deaths of AMS Members: Thomas E. Caywood. Notices of the AMS, 57(6): 660. (link)