David B. Hertz

March 25, 1919 – June 13, 2011

Brief Biography

David Hertz

David Bendel Hertz was a pioneering practitioner of operations research. He is perhaps best remember by the OR community for his perceptive work on risk analysis, including introducing the use of Monte Carlo simulation. Hertz’s earliest publications added insights to the industrial process of research and development. He developed innovative modeling approaches for the solution of complex management issues.

Hertz was born in Yoakum, a small, East Texas city. Finding the curriculum at local schools unchallenging, Hertz moved-in with his uncle in Great Neck, New York. He graduated at the top of his high school mathematics class and enrolled at Columbia University where he received degrees in science and engineering. During World War II, Hertz served in the United States Navy as a Lieutenant Commander in the Caribbean and the Pacific. Between assignments he worked on getting his masters from the Naval Postgraduate School. After the war, Hertz returned to Columbia and earned his PhD.

Hertz taught industrial engineering at Columbia until 1953. During that time, he was a founding member of the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA). He served as editor of the ORSA series, Publications in Operations Research, from 1959 to 1973. Feeling that the society overemphasized the discipline’s military origins, Hertz and other felt it was necessary to establish a more industry-friendly organization. In December, 1953, he and Merrill P. Flood organized the first meeting of The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS) at Columbia University. Hertz went on to serve as president of both organizations (TIMS in 1964 and ORSA in 1974). In 1982, ORSA and TIMS jointly awarded him the George E. Kimball Medal for his dedicated service to both institutions and to the OR/MS discipline.

When John Lindsay was mayor of New York City, Hertz was named to the seventeen person Operations Research Council for the City of New York to advise and reorganize the municipal government. He worked alongside Flood, Ralph Gomory, C. West Churchman, and Russell Ackoff. Mayor Lindsay called his first meeting with the council, "the most informative hour I've spent on this job." 

Hertz left Columbia to accept a management position at the Radio Corporation of America and, later, at the Celanese Corporation. In 1957 he took charge of operations research at Arthur Andersen and Company. In management consulting and finance, Hertz found application areas that would dictate a significant portion of his career. He left Andersen in 1963 to take a similar position with McKinsey and Company, eventually becoming the firm’s Senior Director. At McKinsey, Hertz’s most important work dealt with risk-analysis. In a 1964 paper published in the Harvard Business Review, Hertz called for a new concept in the valuation of investment. He argued for the incorporation of probability distributions in investment decisions. Since its original publication, the article has been cited over one thousand times.

Given that his McKinsey work grew to incorporate more legal matters, Hertz returned to school and received his Juris Doctorate at the age of sixty-four from the New York University Law School. He passed the New York Bar and later joined the law firm of Leva, Hawes, Symington, and Martin in Washington, D.C.

Hertz eventually returned to academia when, in 1984, he accepted an appointment as the Distinguished Professor of Management Science and Computer Information Systems at the University of Miami’s School of Business Administration. In the mid to late 1980s, he became interested in artificial intelligence (AI) and created the Intelligent Computer Systems Research Institute. In his 1988 book, The Expert Executive, Hertz shared his enthusiastic views on how business management could benefit from the promise of AI systems.

Other Biographies

Profiles in Operations Research: David B. Hertz
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Wikipedia Entry for David B. Hertz

INFORMS. Miser-Harris Presidential Gallery: David B. Hertz. Accessed February 28, 2015. (link)


Columbia University, BA 1939

Columbia University, BS 1940

U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, MS 1944

Columbia University, PhD 1953 (Mathematics Genealogy)

New York University Law School, JD 1983


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas


(2011) INFORMS News: In Memoriam - David Bendel Hertz (1919-2011). OR/MS Today, 38(4). (link

New York Times (2011) David Hertz Obituary, June 16. (link)

Awards and Honors

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2002

George E. Kimball Medal 1981

Professional Service

Operations Research Society of America (ORSA), President 1974

The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS), President 1964

Selected Publications

 Hertz D. B. (1950) The Theory and Practice of Industrial Research. McGraw-Hill: New York.

Hertz D. B. (1957) Progress of industrial operations research in the U.S. Davies M., Eddison R., & Page T., eds. in Proceedings of the First International Conference on Operational Research, 455-467. The English Universities Press: London.

Hertz D. B. (1961) On elegance in operations research. Banbury J. & Maitland J., eds. Proceedings of the second international conference on operational research(Aix-en-Provence 1960). English Universities Press: London.

Hertz D. B. (1964) Risk Analysis in Capital Investment. Harvard Business Review, 46(1): 95-106.

Eddison R. T. & Hertz D. B., eds. (1964) Progress in Operations Research, Volume II. John Wiley & Sons: New York.

Hertz D. B. (1969) New Power for Management: Computer Systems and Management Science. McGraw-Hill: New York.

Hertz D. B. & Melese J, eds. (1969) Proceedings of The Fourth International Conference on Operations Research. John Wiley & Sons: New York.

Hertz D. B. & Thomas H. (1983) Risk Analysis and its applications. Wiley: New York.

Hertz D. B. (1988) The Expert Executive: Using AI and Expert Systems for Financial Management, Marketing Production, and Strategy. John Wiley & Sons: New York.