Paul A. Jensen

August 27, 1936 – April 4, 2011

Brief Biography

Jensen Obituary Portrait

Paul A. Jensen was a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and former Vice President for Meetings of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). Born in Chicago, Jensen attended the University of Illinois, receiving a BS in electrical engineering in 1958. He went onto to obtain a masters degree in the subject from the University of Pittsburgh prior to joining the Westinghouse Electric Cooperation. Jensen resumed his studies in the operations research and industrial engineering graduate program at Johns Hopkins University. Upon completing his PhD in 1967, he joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas where he remained until his 2003 retirement.

At Texas, Jensen helped established the Graduate Program in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering, fostering it into one of the nation’s best. He supervised twenty-one PhD students and nearly sixty masters theses. In 1991, Jensen received the university’s Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award. His legacy as an operations research instructor was cemented sixteen years later, when he was presented with the INFORMS Prize for the Teaching of OR/MS Practice. Beyond his own students, Jensen was recognized by the committee for his influence on thousands of other future OR practitioners through his publications and public online resources.

Jensen wrote a number of influential operations research textbooks during his lifetime. Network Flow Programming (1980), coauthored with J. W. Barnes, contains a synthesis of the more important techniques related to network flows, emphasizing concepts over proofs. He published an introductory guide to operations research in 1986. Jensen and Jonathan Bard felt it necessary to write a textbook to help young operations researchers master the growing field of OR in the twenty-first century. Their resulting publication, Operations Research Models and Methods (2003), did just that, bridging the gap between theory and practice.

After his retirement, Jensen began developing and sharing his Excel-based computational tools on the internet through the accompanying website for Operations Research Models and Methods. All the contents remain free and open to the public. In addition to his service as INFORMS VP for Meetings, Jensen served on Board of the Operations Research Society of America. In 2005, he was elected an INFORMS Fellow. Jensen passed away peacefully at seventy-four years old.

Other Biographies

The University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering. Mechanical Engineering Faculty Farewell: Paul A. Jensen. (link)


University of Illinois, BS 1958

University of Pittsburgh, MS 1960

Johns Hopkins University, PhD 1967


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS



(2011) In memoriam - Paul A. Jensen (1936-2011). OR/MS Today, 38(3). (link)

Austin American-Statesman (2011) Obituaries: Paul A. Jensen. April 6. (link)

The University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering. Mechanical Engineering News and Events: Farewell Professor Emeritus Paul Jensen. (link)

Awards and Honors

IIE/Joint Publishers Book-of-the-Year Award 1981

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2005

INFORMS Prizes for the Teaching of OR/MS Practice 2007

Selected Publications

Jensen P. A. (1971) Optimum network partitioning. Operations Research, 19(4): 916-932.

Jensen P. A. & Khan H. A. (1972) Scheduling in a multistage production system with set-up and inventory costs. AIIE Transactions, 4(2): 126-133.

Barnes J. W. & Jensen P. A. (1980) Network Flow Programming. Wiley & Sons: New York.

Jensen P. A. (1986) The Student's Guide to Operations Research. Holden-Day: San Francisco.

Bard J. F. & Jensen P. A. (2003) Operations Research Models and Methods. Wiley & Sons: New York.