George S. Fishman

July 3, 1937

Brief Biography

Growing up in the late 1940s and 1950s, George S. Fishman developed an early enthusiasm for science and technology. Because he was living in Chelsea, Massachusetts, Fishman decided to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology given its proximity to home and good reputation in both the traditional sciences and engineering. A few months into his undergraduate education, he realized that engineering was not his true passion and was drawn instead to the university’s renowned Economics Department. Fishman continued to take electrical engineering courses, however, given the program’s degree requirements, and was introduced to networks and varied uses of probability theory and statistics.

Fishman finished his undergraduate coursework a semester early and spent the spring of 1960 working under several leading MIT economists including Robert Solow and Maurice Adelman. When Fishman was admitted to Stanford University’s graduate program in economics, Solow and political science professor Ithiel de Sola Pool introduced him to their colleague, Kenneth J. Arrow. During his second year at Stanford, Fishman was offered a summer internship at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California based on recommendations from Arrow and Marc Nerlov.

Fishman joined the Logistics Department at RAND and was offered a full time position in 1962. At RAND, he worked under Murray Geisler, the logistics group head beginning in late 1963. Geisler suggested that Fishman concentrate on simulation, which was then an emerging field with untapped potential. Fishman started working on the subject, along with Phil Kivat, a former Cornell graduate student who co-developed the SIMSCRIPT II language with Harry Markowitz. In the late 1960s Kivat and Fishman decided to write a series of papers dedicated to the methodological aspects of discrete-event simulation. Many of those original concepts later appeared in his 1973 book, Concepts and Methods in Discrete Event Digital Simulation.

By the end of the decade, Fishman realized that RAND was a “plateau type of environment”. Many staffers were on the same level but few held senior positions. Having lectured for a year at the University of California, Los Angeles, he decided to return to school. By the time Fishman received his PhD, the culture at RAND had dramatically changed. He therefore decided to enter academia and joined the faculty at Yale University in fall 1970.

When Fishman started teaching courses in simulation, he was bothered by the lack of textbooks on the subject that made methodological sense. The four hundred pages of course notes he wrote became the basis of his book on the subject. Fishman was at Yale for three years before the Administrative Sciences Department was incorporated into the new School of Organization Management, predicating his departure from the university in 1974. After considering various offers, he joined the University of North Carolina’s Curriculum in Operations Research and Systems Analysis, remaining there until his retirement in 2001.

At UNC, Fishman chaired the Department of Operations Research for most of the 1980s. After his chairmanship, he directed his research on Monte Carlo simulation. By the early 1990s, interactive modeling had become an essential and common tool for teaching discrete-event simulation in the classroom. Fishman published a book that outlined aspects of Monte Carlo simulation in 1996 and received that year’s Frederick W. Lanchester Prize. After retiring, he wrote a follow-up piece, A First Course in Monte Carlo (2005), to serve as a lower-level introductory text.

Fishman served as president of The Institute of Management Sciences’ College on Simulation and Gaming from 1972 to 1974. He was awarded the distinguished service award of the Simulation Society in 1990 and was named a Fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences in 2003.

Other Biographies

(2005) Fishman Receives Simulation Society's Lifetime Achievement Award. OR/MS Today, 32(2). (link)

Alexopoulos C., Goldsman D., & Wilson J. R. (2009) George Fishman's Professional Career. Alexopoulos, et al., eds. in Advancing the Frontiers of Simulation: A Festschrift in Honor of George Samuel Fishman, 1-19. Springer Science+Business Media: New York. (link)

University of North Carolina Department of Statistics and Operations Research. People Emeritus: George S. Fishman. Accessed May 4, 2015. (link


Massachusetts Institute of Technology, BS 1960

Stanford University, MA 1963

University of California, Los Angeles, PhD 1970 (Mathematics Genealogy)


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas

Oral Histories

Alexopoulos C., Goldsman D., & Wilson J. R. (2009) A Conversation with George Fishman. Alexopoulos, et al., eds. in Advancing the Frontiers of Simulation: A Festschrift in Honor of George Samuel Fishman, 21-42. Springer Science+Business Media: New York. (link

Memoirs and Autobiographies


George Fishman Curriculum Vitae

Awards and Honors

INFORMS Simulation Society Distinguished Service Award 1990

Frederick W. Lanchester Prize 1996

Outstanding Simulation Publication Award 1997

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2003

INFORMS Simulation Society Lifetime Professional Achievement Award 2004

Professional Service

TIMS College on Simulation and Gaming, Chairman 1972-1974

Selected Publications

Fishman G. S. (1969) Spectral Methods in Econometrics. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA.

Fishman G. S. (1973) Concepts and Methods in Discrete Event Digital Simulation. John Wiley & Sons: New York.

Fishman G. S. (1978) Principles of Discrete Event Digital Simulation. John Wiley & Sons: New York.

Fishman G. S. (1978) Grouping observations in digital simulation. Management Science, 24(5): 510-521.

Fishman G. S. & Moore L. R. (1982) A statistical evaluation of multiplicative congruential random number generators with modulus 231—1. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 77(377): 129-136.

Fishman G. S. (1986) A Monte Carlo sampling plan for estimating network reliability. Operations Research, 34(4): 581-594.

Fishman G. S. & Moore, III L. R. (1986) An Exhaustive Analysis of Multiplicative Congruential Random Number Generators with Modulus 2^31-1. SIAM Journal on Scientific and Statistical Computing, 7(1), 24-45.

Fishman G. S. (1996) Monte Carlo: Theory, Algorithms and Applications. Springer-Verlag: Berlin.

Fishman G. S. (2001) Discrete-Event Simulation: Modeling, Programming, and Analysis. Springer-Verlag: Berlin.

Fishman G. S. (2005) A First Course in Monte Carlo. Duxbury Press: Pacific Grove, CA.