Frederick S. Hillier

March 4, 1936

Brief Biography

Hillier Presidential Gallery Portrait

Born and raised in Aberdeen, Washington, Frederick Hillier excelled in high school, winning numerous awards in statewide contests for essay writing, mathematics, music, and debate. Hillier’s success continued as an undergraduate at Stanford University, where he ranked first in his engineering class of over three hundred. He remained at Stanford for graduate work, studying under Gerald J. Lieberman. Hillier received his PhD in 1961 with a dissertation on new criteria for selecting continuous sampling plans

Hillier joined the faculty at his alma mater, though he also has received visiting appointments at Cornell University, Carnegie-Mellon University, the Technical University of Denmark, the University of Canterbury, and the University of Cambridge. Many of his approximately forty former students, including James Bean, Bruce Faaland, Vijay Mehrotra, Paul GrayJ. Michael Harrison, and Shaler (Sandy) Stidham, Jr., have gone on to lead successful careers as operations researchers and educators. Hillier retired early in 1996 to focus on writing his textbooks.

Hillier is best known for the book he and Lieberman co-authored in 1967, Introduction to Operations Research. This widely used textbook continues to be read in business and engineering classrooms, alike, and had reached its 11th edition by 2021. The remarkable history of this textbook is described by Hillier in (Link). Since 1967, Hillier has gone on to publish five more textbooks, touching upon a number of topics including mathematical programming, stochastic modeling, risk evaluation in investments, queueing tables, and management science with spreadsheets. He and Lieberman published two companion volumes to their original work, Introduction to Mathematical Programming and Introduction to Stochastic Models in Operations Research, in 1990.  Hillier and his son, Mark S. Hillier (a faculty member at the University of Washington), also are the co-authors of the textbook, Introduction to Management Science: A Modeling Case Studies Approach with Spreadsheets, now in its 5th edition and widely used in business schools. 

An active member of The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS), the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA), and their successor, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), Hillier has held a number of leadership positions in professional OR societies. He served as Treasurer of ORSA, Vice President for Meetings of TIMS, Chair of the TIMS Publications Committee, and Chair of the ORSA/TIMS Combined Meetings Committee. His work with the latter helped lead to the eventual merger of the two societies in 1995. Starting in 1993 and continuing until 2013, Hillier was the founding Series Editor for the International Series in Operations Research and Management Science published by Kluwer Academic and then Springer..

Hillier was named a Fellow of INFORMS in 2004. The same year, he was awarded the Saul Gass Expository Writing Award. Though the award presentation was primarily dedicated to Introduction to Operations Research, Hillier was celebrated for his entire corpus of works that has significantly enhanced the quality and depth of education in the field. 

In July 2023, the International Federation of Operational Research Societies (IFORS), inducted Hillier into the IFORS International Hall of Fame, generally for the wide variety of his contributions to the field, but specifically for the impact of his textbook, Introduction to Operations Research, first published in 1967. IFORS adds new members to the Hall of Fame every three years, with a maximum of three new entrants each time.

Other Biographies

McGraw Hill. Introduction to Operations Research: About the Authors. Accessed July 5, 2018. (link


Stanford University, BS 1958

Stanford University, PhD 1961 (Mathematics Genealogy


Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas

Oral Histories

Frederick Hillier (2015) Interview by Vijay Mehrotra, November 2, 2015.  Video by David Tavani,  Philadelphia PA

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 high school years
Chapter 2: Choosing to attend Stanford
Chapter 3: Connecting with Jerry Lieberman
Chapter 4: The decision to stay at Stanford for Graduate Study
Chapter 5: The decision to immediately join the Stanford Faculty
Chapter 6: A variety of early research
Chapter 7: Planning and writing the Hillier-Lieberman textbook
Chapter 8: The early years of operations research at Stanford
Chapter 9: Research in Integer Programming
Chapter 10: The Evolution of the Hillier-Lieberman textbook
Chapter 11: Mark Hillier joins the team
Chapter 12: Reflections on the past 50 Years and the future 50 Years of the field

Awards and Honors

Office of Naval Research/TIMS Capital Budgeting of Interrelated Projects Contest First-Prize 1964

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2004

Saul Gass Expository Writing Award 2004

IFORS International Hall of Fame 2023

Professional Service

Operations Research Society of America (ORSA), Treasurer 

The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS), Vice President for Meetings

Selected Publications

Hillier F. S. (1963) The derivation of probabilistic information for the evaluation of risky investments. Management Science, 9(3): 443-457.

Boling R. W. & Hillier F. S. (1966) Effect of Some Design Factors on the Efficiency of Production Lines with Variable Operation times. Journal of Industrial Engineering, 17(12): 651.

Connors M. M. & Hillier F. S. (1966) Quadratic assignment problem algorithms and the location of indivisible facilities. Management Science, 13(1): 42-57.

Boling R. W. & Hillier F. S. (1967) Finite queues in series with exponential or Erlang service times—a numerical approach. Operations Research, 15(2): 286-303.

Hillier F. S. & Liberman G. J. (1967) Introduction to Operations Research. McGraw-Hill: New York.

Hillier F. S. (1969) The Evaluation of Risky Interrelated Investments. North-Holland Press: Amsterdam.

Hillier F. S. & Yu O. S. (1981) Queueing Tables and Graphs. Elsevier North-Holland: Amsterdam. 

Hillier F. S. & Lieberman G. J. (1990) Introduction to Mathematical Programming. McGraw-Hill: New York. 

Hillier F. S. & Lieberman G. J. (1990) Introduction to Stochastic Models in Operations Research. McGraw-Hill: New York. 

Hillier F. S., Hillier M. S., & Lieberman G. J. (2000) Introduction to Management Science: A Modeling and Case Studies Approach with Spreadsheets. Irwin/McGraw-Hill: New York.

Additional Resources

Hillier F. S. (1999) Remember Jerry Lieberman: founder of Stanford's OR Department inspired many, including the author. OR/MS Today, 26(6). (link