Arthur M. Geoffrion


Brief Biography

Arthur M. Geoffrion

Arthur M. Geoffrion was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up on Long Island in an idyllic Manhasset neighborhood where a half-dozen adjacent families all knew each other, socialized, and had kids who played together. His father (from Manchester, NH) was a watch case manufacturer and his mother (from Haverhill, MA) had been a secretary prior to marriage. Childhood interests included amateur radio and electronics, atomic energy, playing baseball and golf, the Brooklyn Dodgers, and hypnosis. He attended three small private schools prior to going off to Cornell University, where he chose to major in mechanical engineering in order to keep the door open to taking over the family business. There he joined a fraternity and learned to fly. In his junior year (of the 5-year program), he discovered the then-emerging field of operations research through Prof. Andrew Schultz, Jr. When he found out that it was actually possible to make many kinds of difficult decisions optimally, and to defend them fully with data and mathematics, he was sold. Thereafter he took all the OR-oriented courses he could, staying an extra semester to take a Master of Industrial Engineering on 1 February 1961.

At that point, although Geoffrion wanted to continue his graduate studies, one more business opportunity beckoned: Movado Watch Agency, one of his dad’s customers, was looking for a junior partner. So for the next seven months he worked in Movado’s corporate office in Manhattan where he was tutored by the four partners and, in an effort to return a bit of value, built and implemented a stochastic inventory control model (using a planimeter and custom nomograph to hide all the math). But the siren song of OR was irresistible and off he went to Stanford, having been persuaded by Prof. Gerald Lieberman -- who was on leave at Columbia University -- to choose Stanford over Berkeley.

There was no OR program at Stanford at the time, but Lieberman had explained that one was imminent. So Geoffrion entered the Industrial Engineering department, and was the first to transfer into the new Operations Research doctoral program when it was created in 1962 under the direction of a new interdepartmental committee (chaired by Lieberman). He was part of the first graduating class of seven in 1965, two years before the Department of Operations Research was created, with Harvey M. Wagner  as his dissertation advisor.   Geoffrion accepted a position with what is today the UCLA Anderson School of Management,and also a regular consulting arrangement with RAND Corporation that lasted for about a decade and was crucially important in providing him with many more colleagues in OR than UCLA could in those years.   He retired in 2005 as James A. Collins Chair in Management Emeritus.

He is the author of more than 60 published works, initially on mathematical programming and its applications, including topics in decomposition techniques for special structures, duality, integer programming, Lagrangean relaxation and multi-criterion optimization. His theoretical and algorithmic research soon led to a desire to test new methods on real data and to seek new research challenges from problems faced by industry, which led to a series of consulting engagements mainly in distribution and production. In 1978 he co-founded INSIGHT, Inc., a management consulting firm specializing in optimization-based applications in supply-chain management and production. 

During the 1980s, his interests shifted to the foundations of modeling, modeling formalisms and computer-based modeling environments as an approach to improving the quality, productivity and acceptability of model-based work. By the mid-1990s, his interests shifted again to the implications of the Internet and digital economy for management and management science.

Professor Geoffrion's research was supported by about 45 grants and contracts, including many from the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research.

From fairly early in his career, Geoffrion was an active member of the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA) and The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS), both editorially and otherwise. He served as the 28th President of TIMS in 1981-82, establishing the TIMS Management Science Roundtable (today known as the INFORMS Roundtable) to address the needs of practitioners of OR/MS. In 1997, he served as the third president of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).

Geoffrion has received numerous recognitions for his technical and professional contributions, including election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1998. In 2000, INFORMS awarded him the George E. Kimball Medal for his service to the profession and the society. The Canadian Operations Research Society (CORS) awarded Geoffrion the Harold Larnder Prize (2002) in recognition of his international distinction in OR.  Most recently (2013) INFORMS presented Geoffrion the President’s Award for his leadership in connecting theory to practice, his mentoring of OR/MS professionals, and his seminal contributions to the field. 

Other Biographies

INFORMS. Miser-Harris Presidential Gallery: Arthur M. Geoffrion. Accessed February 2, 2015. (link)

UCLA Anderson School of Management: Decisions, Operations and Technology Management. Faculty: Arthur Geoffrion. Accessed April 5, 2019. (link)


Cornell University, B.M.E. 1960

Cornell University, M.I.E. 1961

Stanford University, PhD 1965 (Mathematics Genealogy)


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas

Memoirs and Autobiographies


Geoffrion A. M. (2010) Lagrangian Relaxation for Linear Programming, in 50 Years of Integer Programming 1958-2008: From Early Years to the State-of-the-Art. Junger M., Liebling T. M., Naddef D., Nemhauser G. L., Pulleybank W. R., Reinelt G., Rinaldi G., and Wolsey L. A., eds. Springer: New York pages 243-281.

Awards and Honors

NATO Systems Science Prize 1976

Omega Rho, Honorary Membership 1991

TIMS Distinguished Service Medal 1992

International Academy of Management 1996 

National Academy of Engineering Member 1998

George E. Kimball Medal 2000

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2002

Harold Larnder Prize 2002

INFORMS President's Award 2013

Professional Service

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, President 1997

The Institute of Management Sciences, President 1981-82

Selected Publications

Geoffrion A. M. (1968) Proper efficiency and the theory of vector maximization. Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Application, 22(3): 618-630.

Geoffrion A. M. (1970) Elements of large-scale mathematical programming Part I: Concepts. Management Science, 16(11): 652-675.

Geoffrion A. M. (1971) Duality in nonlinear programming. SIAM Review, 13(1): 1-37.

Geoffrion A. M. (1972) Generalized benders decomposition. Journal of Optimization Theory and Applications, 10(4): 237-260.

Dyer J. S., Feinberg A., & Geoffrion A. M. (1972) An Interactive Approach for Multi-Criterion Optimization, with an Application to the Operation of an Academic Department. Management Science, 19(4): 357-368. 

Geoffrion A. M. (1974) Lagrangean relaxation for integer programming. Mathematical Programming Study, 2: 82-114.

Geoffrion A. M. & Graves G.W. (1974) Multicommodity distribution system design by benders decomposition. Management Science, 20(5): 822-844.

Geoffrion A. M. (1976) Better distribution planning with computer models. Harvard Business Review, 54(4): 92-99.

Geoffrion A. M. (1987) An introduction to structured modeling. Management Science, 33(5): 547-588.

Geoffrion A .M. & Powers R. F. (1995) Twenty years of strategic distribution system design: an evolutionary perspective. Interfaces, 25(5): 105-127.

Geoffrion A. M. & Krishnan R. (March-April 2001) Prospects for operations research in the e-business era. Interfaces, 31(2): 6-36.

Geoffrion A. M. (2003) Restoring transparency to computational solutions.  Koutsoukis N. S. & Mitra G. eds. in Decision Modelling and Information Systems, 175-203. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Additional Resources

Cornell University School of Operations Research and Information Engineering. News: Arthur Geoffrion '59 MIE '61 Encourages ORIE Academics to Interact with Industry. Published June 20, 2011. Accessed February 17. 2015. (link