Stephen M. Robinson

April 12, 1942

Brief Biography

Stephen Robinson Fellow Portrait

Stephen Michael Robinson was born to University of Wisconsin geography professor Arthur Robinson. At age sixteen, the young Robinson took his first step in a long association with the university’s campus computing center, helping tend its single computing system. As an undergraduate he taught classes in numerical analysis. Robinson went on to earn a master’s degree from New York University before serving in the United States Army as a regular officer. He spent nearly two years with the Special Forces in Vietnam, earning the Legion of Merit and the Army’s Bronze Star. Robinson returned to Wisconsin in 1969 to earn his PhD but remained active with the Army until 1993, retiring as a Colonel. After receiving his PhD, he served as Assistant Director of Wisconsin’s Army Mathematics Research Center, at a time of continuing antiwar protests and shortly after it was the object of a bomb that killed a physics graduate student.  

Robinson has spent his entire academic career at the University of Wisconsin. His research interests have touched numerous topics including numerical methods for optimization, variational analysis and mathematical programming, and decision science. He has developed quantitative methods for making the best use of scarce resources. Robinson has also worked on solving decision making problems under uncertainty. His 2000 article on decision making in the US Army (published in Phalanx, the journal of the Military Operations Research Society) earned them the John K. Walker Award. Robinson has published over one hundred papers and books. The Mathematical Programming Society (MPS) and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) awarded him the George B. Dantzig Prize for his entire corpus of works.

Beside his tenure in the army, Robinson has served the United States government in numerous way. He has consulted with the National Science Foundation, the Department of the Army, and the Department of Energy. As a member of the National Academy of Engineering since 2008, Robinson has served on a variety of advisory committees for the National Academies.

In addition to his academic and research contributions, Robinson has been actively involved in the service to the professional operations research community. He was a member of both the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA) and The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS) before their 1995 merger. Robinson has served the united organization, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), in the capacities of Secretary (2000-2003), Treasurer (2007-2010), and President (2014). He was the Associate Editor of ORSA’s Operations Research and chief editor of Mathematics of Operations Research in the 1980s.

Robinson is an elected fellow of INFORMS (2004) and SIAM (2009). The former presented him with the George E. Kimball Medal for dedicated service to the organization and the entire discipline of operations research.  

Other Biographies

Wikipedia (Deutsche) Entry for Stephen M. Robinson 

Stochastic Programming Society. Pioneers: Robinson. Accessed March 16, 2015. (link

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Faculty Profile: Steve Robinson. Accessed March 16, 2015. (link)


University of Wisconsin-Madison, BA 1962

New York University, MS 1963

University of Wisconsin-Madison, PhD 1971 (Mathematics Genealogy

United States Army War College, Diploma 1986


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas

Memoirs and Autobiographies


Stephen Michael Robinson Curriculum Vitae

Awards and Honors

George E. Kimball Medal 2011

Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Fellow 2009

National Academy of Engineering Member 2008

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2004

MORS John K. Walker Award 2001

SIAM/MPS Dantzig Prize 1997

Professional Service

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), President 2014, Treasurer 2007-2010, Secretary 2000-2003

Selected Publications

Robinson S. M. (1972) A quadratically-convergent algorithm for general nonlinear programming problems. Mathematical programming, 3(1): 145-156.

Robinson S. M. (1976) Stability theory for systems of inequalities, Part II: Differentiable nonlinear systems. SIAM Journal on Numerical Analysis, 13(4): 497-513.

Mangasarin O. L., Meyer R. R., & Robinson S. M., eds. (1975) Nonlinear Programming 2. Academic Press: New York.

Robinson S. M. (1977) A characterization of stability in linear programming. Operations Research, 25(3): 435-447.

Robinson, S. M. (1979) Generalized equations and their solutions, Part I: Basic theory. Mathematical Programming Studies, 10: 128-141..

Robinson S. M. (1980) Strongly regular generalized equations. Mathematics of Operations Research, 5(1): 43-62.

Robinson S. M. (1982) Generalized equations and their solutions, Part II: Applications to nonlinear programming. Mathematical Programming Studies, 19: 200-221.

Robinson S. M. (1994) Newton's method for a class of nonsmooth functions. Set-Valued Analysis, 2(1-2): 291-305.

Robinson S. M. (1996) Analysis of sample-path optimization. Mathematics of Operations Research, 21(3): 513-528.

Laferriere R. R.  &Robinson S. M. (2000) Scenario analysis in U.S. Army decision-making. Phalanx, 33(1): 11-16.

Chandra J. & Robinson S. M. (2005) An Uneasy Alliance: The Mathematics Research Center at the University of Wisconsin, 1956-1987. Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics: Philadelphia, PA.

Brennan P. F., Robinson S. M., Sridhar S., & Wright S. J. (2015) Optimizing financial effects of HIE: A multi-party linear programming approach. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 19(6): 1082–1088. 

S. Sridhar, P. F. Brennan, S. J. Wright, and S. M. Robinson,  Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, published online June 25, 2012:

Additional Resources

INFORMS News Room. Press Releases: Stephen Robinson is 2014 INFORMS President. Accessed March 16, 2015. (link)