Randall S. Robinson

Brief Biography

Robinson, Randall

Randall S. Robinson has dedicated his career to the professional growth and practice of operations research and the management sciences.

Robinson spent four years with the US Navy, including service as Supply and Disbursing Officer on a destroyer and later as special assistant to the director of advanced logistics research in the Naval Supply Systems Command. While a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Robinson became a member of both the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA) and The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS). After receiving his PhD (supervised by Gordon Kaufman) in 1964, he joined the General Atomic division of  General Dynamics, where he established an OR/MS function, and then joined the Bank Administration Institute, a banking industry association where he was Director of the Research Division.

From 1970 to 1976, Robinson worked as an independent financial OR consultant alongside MIT and Harvard Business School faculty members. He eventually settled into a nineteen year-long career at Babcock & Wilcox, a U.S. based company that designs and produces power generation systems, and whose OR/MS department won the Edelman Award in 1973. He helped Babcock through its merger with McDermott Incorporated, an energy services company, and retired in 1995 as the merged company’s Director of Decision Technologies and Operations Research. He also managed corporate software development.

Robinson was an active member of TIMS prior to its 1995 merger with ORSA. He served as President of the Boston TIMS chapter and was in 1986 elected the society’s Vice-President for Finance. In 1993, he was elected Chair of the joint ORSA and TIMS OR/MS Board that approved the ORSA-TIMS union into the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). In that capacity, he became the legal President of INFORMS before the first elected President (John Little) took office in 1995. Robinson was slated to serve as TIMS President after his election in 1994 but only served as President-Elect because of the merger.

Robinson then was asked to become the founding Executive Director of INFORMS, addressing the issues that arose from the merger. ORSA and TIMS each brought their own staff offices, governance cultures, and organizational hierarchies. Robinson tackled those issues, helping INFORMS navigate the period of transition. He helped improve the public perception of operations research and the management sciences through enhanced visibility and through creation of stronger bonds between INFORMS and other professional societies in various fields of science, engineering, and mathematics. Robinson was additionally responsible for helping to improve the software capabilities of INFORMS.

After retiring from the position of Executive Director in 1998, Robinson continued to serve INFORMS as a volunteer. Over the years he chaired numerous committees among which were Fellows Award, Kimball Medal, Morse Lectureship, Continuing Professional Education, Public Information, History and Traditions, and The Practice Section of INFORMS. And he served as a member of other committees including the Edelman Award (which he had chaired in 1988), the Edelman Gala, and the Wagner Prize (as a judge). In addition, Robinson has served as Wagner Prize special issue editor for the INFORMS journal Interfaces and as an associate editor for the INFORMS journal Operations Research.

For his service to INFORMS, Robinson was awarded the George E. Kimball Medal in 1999. And he was elected to the inaugural class of INFORMS Fellows in 2002.

Robinson remains active in the INFORMS community. He also has been teaching OR/MS part-time for the University of Maryland.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology, SB 1955

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, SM 1957

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, PhD 1964


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations
  • U. S. Navy
  • Babcock & Wilcox
  • Bank Administration Institute
  • General Dynamics Corporation
  • McDermott Incorporated

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas

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