Salah E. Elmaghraby

October 21, 1927 – June 12, 2016

Brief Biography

Elmaghraby Fellow Portrait

Salah E. Elmaghraby was an internationally renowned educator of operations research and industrial engineering. Educated at Cairo University in Egypt, Elmaghraby first employed his knowledge of mechanical engineering as the manager of a Coca Cola bottling plant. After a short while, he taught classes at his alma mater before accepting a position at the Foreign Inspection Office of the Egyptian State Railways. This job took him across Europe, working at offices in London, Brussels, and Budapest. Elmaghraby moved to the United States and received graduate degrees from Ohio State and Cornell University. After stints at Yale and at Western Electric Company in Princeton, he settled at North Carolina State University where he stayed for the remainder of his career.

At N.C. State, Elmaghraby established and directed the interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Operations Research. He retired as Director in 1990 but continued teaching for twenty years. Throughout his entire academic career, Elmaghraby was a dedicated servant to the international growth of OR education. He has been a visiting professor and lecturer at numerous, making major advancements at the Claude Bernard University of Lyon and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research. 

Elmaghraby’s research areas included production systems, project planning, scheduling, discrete optimization, and dynamic programming. His development of an algebra for the analysis of networks with probabilistic activitie made major advancements in generalized activity networks possible. This paved the way for what later became the Graphical Evaluation and Review Technique (GERT) Model and GERT simulation. Elmaghraby additionally devised numerous algorithms for stochastic scheduling and sequencing problems involving flow jobs and job shops. His other works have included fundamental contributions to cost-trade-off analysis, the use of stochastic programming, risk management, and complexity issues.

Elmaghraby was elected as a Fellow of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) and the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). He received numerous accolades from IIE including the Operations Research Division Award, the David F. Baker Distinguished Research Award, and the Frank and Lilian Gilbreth Industrial Engineer Award. The latter was given in recognition of Elmagrhaby’s international contributions to the welfare of mankind in the field of industrial engineering. His influence in the Middle East was recognized by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences.

Having supervised over sixty graduate students, Elmaghraby was University Professor Emeritus at N.C. State prior to his death.


  • Cairo University, BSME 1948
  • Ohio State University, MSIE 1955
  • Cornell University, PhD 1958


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations
  • Coca Cola Bottling Co. 
  • Foreign Inspection Office of the Egyptian State Railways
  • Western Electric Company

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas

Oral Histories

Salah Elmaghraby (2015) Interview by Shaler Stidham, October 9, 2015.  Video by Danica Cullinan, Raleigh, NC

NOTE:  The video chapter transcripts below are searchable, with search results displayed as marks on the time bar above the search box.  Click a mark to jump to the search word or phrase in the video and transcript, or click on any word in the transcript to jump to that point in the video.

Jump to Chapters

Chapter 1: The Graduate Program in OR at NC State
Chapter 2: Research in production, project planning, and scheduling
Chapter 3: Working in Budapest in the early 1950's
Chapter 4: To Cornell by way of London
Chapter 5: Traveling the world
Chapter 6: Westerm Electric and Yale

Memoirs and Autobiographies


Elmaghaby S. E. (2014) Salah E. Elmagraby Resume. Pulat P. S. et al., eds. in Essays in Production, Project Planning and Scheduling: A Festschrift in Honor of Salah Elmaghraby, 389-410. Springer Science and Business Media: New York. (link)


North Carolina State University Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Dr. Salah Elmaghraby (1927-2016). Accessed July 3, 2018. (link)

Awards and Honors

IIE David F. Baker Distinguished Research Award 1970

IIE Operations Research Division Award 1980

Institute of Industrial Engineers Fellow 1986

Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences Distinguished Award 1990

IIE Frank and Lilian Gilbreth Industrial Engineering Award 2003

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2004

Professional Service

Production and Operations Management Society, Board of Advisors Member 2000-Present

Selected Publications

Elmaghraby S. E. (1959) An approach to linear programming under uncertainty. Operations Research, 7(2): 208-216.

Elmaghraby (1964) An algebra for the analysis of generalized activity networks. Management Science, 10(3): 494-514.

Elmaghraby (1968) The machine sequencing problem-review and extensions. Naval Research Logistics Quarterly, 15(2): 205-232. 

Elmaghraby (1978) Activity Networks: Project Planning and Control by Network Models. John Wiley & Sons: New York.

Elmaghraby S. E. (1978) The Economic Lot Scheduling Problem (ELSP): Review and Extensions. Management Science, 24(6): 587-598.

Elmaghraby S. E. & Herroelen W. S. (1990) The scheduling of activities to maximize the net present value of projects. European Journal of Operational Research, 49(1): 35-49.

Elmaghraby S. E. (1995) Activity Nets: A guided tour through some recent developments. European Journal of Operational Research, 82(3): 383-408.

Elmaghraby S. E. (2000) On criticality and sensitivity in activity networks. European Journal of Operational Research, 127(2): 220-238.

Elmaghraby S. E. (2005) On the fallacy of averages in project risk management. European Journal of Operational Research, 165(2): 307-313.

Additional Resources

Brendan Bettinger (2001) Salah E. Elmaghraby: Studies in Activity Networks: A Guided Tour. INFORMS 2011 Annual Meeting: Charlotte, NC. (link)

North Carolina State University Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Elmaghraby Global OR Fund. Accessed July 3, 2018. (link)