Murray Geisler

March 23, 1917 – August 6, 1985

Brief Biography

Murray Giesler Presidential Gallery Photo

Murray Aaron Geisler was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He attended an institution for academically gifted boys and wrestled for the school's team. Geisler went to the City College of New York and received a B.S. in mathematics. He afterwards enrolled at Columbia University for graduate study and received a masters degree in statistics and economics. During his time at Columbia, Geisler worked part-time as a statistician for the National Committee on Maternal Health. The resulting paper he co-authored on female contraception in rural areas was the first of many articles he would publish over the course of his career.

Post-graduation, Geisler first accepted a position with the Office of Price Administration as Chief of the Income and Price Forecasting Branch. At the Administration, he became acquainted with future OR pioneers David Blackwell and Robert Dorfman. Following the entry of the United States into World War II, Geisler decided to apply his forecasting skills to the war effort. Geisler joined a highly selective training program with the Army Air Forces meteorological division and was one of only five cadets to receive a post at the Pentagon. In Washington he befriended future Nobel Prize winner, Kenneth J. Arrow.

In 1945, Geisler became Chief Statistician of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. He studied wartime suicide rates and disease within the U.S. Army. He left the service in 1946 but remained active in the Air Force Reserves, eventually retiring as a colonel. Geisler worked with the Operations Analysis Office at the Pentagon and addressed such military OR problems as bombing accuracy and flight systems. During this time he became acquainted with George B. Dantzig and was brought onto Project SCOOP (Scientific Computation of Optimal Programs). At SCOOP, Geisler familiarized himself with Dantzig’s linear programming work and eventually became part of the leadership team’s inner management circle. Geisler’s staff participated in numerous studies on the planning, budgeting, and controlling of spare parts.

Dantzig, who had left Washington a few years earlier, invited Geisler to join his staff at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California. Geisler accepted and became the head of the Logistics Department research program. He paused his work in 1960 to earn a PhD from Stanford University under Herbert Scarf. He served as the eighth president of The Institute of Management Science in 1961. In addition to his research on the optimization of spare parts provisioning, Geisler pursued other logistical matters including inventory control. With the arrival of electronic computers, it was important to understand and utilize centralized knowledge of inventory. Geisler’s team showed that inventory control of physical assets stored in one place could be maintained with data stored elsewhere. Thanks largely to Geisler and Dantzig’s past Air Force experience, they were able to obtain numerous USAF research contracts and funds.

Geisler first took temporary leave from RAND in the 1960s to serve as the research director of the Joint Logistics Review Board to investigate the approach to logistics in modern warfare in Vietnam. Geisler excused himself from RAND again in 1974 to visit the Sloan School of Management at MIT. While he originally intended to be away for only one year, Geisler moved to Virginia and the Logistics Management Institute (LMI). At LMI, Geisler eventually became a senior logistician and worked on multiple Department of Defense contracts. He retired from LMI in 1984 to focus on his book A Personal History of Logistics. The book was unfortunately published only after Geisler lost a battle against leukemia.

Other Biographies

Profiles in Operations Research: Murray Geisler
INFORMS Members may access this book for free by logging in.
For more information about this title and many other Springer publications in Operations Research, please click here.

INFORMS. Miser-Harris Presidential Gallery: Murray Geisler. Accessed March 3, 2015. (link)


City College of New York, BS 1938

Columbia University, MA 1940

Stanford University, PhD 1962 (Mathematics Genealogy)


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas

Memoirs and Autobiographies


Geisler M. A. (1986) A Personal History of Logistics. Logistics Management Institute: Tysons, VA. (link)* 

Used with permission by LMI. 
Copyright (c)1986, LMI.  All Rights Reserved.  


Dantzig G. B. (1985) Murray Geisler obituary. OR/MS Today, 12(5): 5-6. 

Los Angeles Times (1985) Murray Geisler, Military Research Expert, Dies. August 11. (link)

New York Times (1985) Murray A. Geisler; Improved Logistics for Military Plans. August 9. (link)

Selected Publications

Beebe G. W. & Geisler M. A. (1942) Control of contraception in a selected rural sample. Human Biology, 14(1): 1-20.

Geisler M. A. & Wood M. K. (1951) Development of dynamic models for program planning. Koopmans T. C., ed. in Activity Analysis of Production and Allocation: Proceedings of a Conference, 189-215. Wiley: New York.

Geisler M. A. (1954) A Summary of Some Base Supply Activity and Workload Reports. RAND Corporation: Santa Monica, CA. 

Geisler M. A. & Karr H. W. (1956) The design of military supply tables for spare parts. Operations Research, 4(4): 431-442. 

Geisler M. A. (1959) The simulation of a large-scale military activity. Management Science, 5(4): 359-368.

Geisler M. A. (1959) Communications and Control Requirement in the Air Force Logistics System. RAND Corporation: Santa Monica, CA. 

Geisler M. A. (1960) Logistics Research and Management Science. Management Science, 6(4): 444-454.

Geisler M. A. (1964) The sizes of simulation samples required to compute certain inventory characteristics with stated precision and confidence. Management Science, 10(2): 261-286.

Geisler M. A. (1974) The Organization of Information for Logistics Decisionmaking. RAND Corporation: Santa Monica, CA.

Geisler M. A., ed. (1975) Logistics. TIMS Studies in the Management Sciences. North-Holland: New York. 

Geisler M. A. (1986) A Personal History of Logistics. Logistics Management Institute: McLean, VA.