Michael H. Rothkopf

May 20, 1939 – February 18, 2008

Brief Biography

Rothkopf Presidential Gallery Portrait

Michael H. Rothkopf was the tenth President of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). Rothkopf studied mathematics at Pomona College in California before pursuing graduate study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After earning a masters degree in industrial management, he received a PhD in Operations Research in 1964. Rothkopf spent the next twenty-four years in industry working at Royal Dutch Shell, Xerox, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Rothkopf was a dedicated member of the operations research and management sciences professional community. With The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS), he served as Vice President of Publications, Chair of the Publications Committee, and Vice President at Large. Rothkopf was a Council Member of the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA) in the early 1980s and a leading figure of the Business Application Section. He served on ORSA’s Publications Committee as well. His editorial positions included editor-in-chief of Interfaces and associate editor for Operations Research. Prior to the merger of the two organizations into INFORMS, Rothkopf was on number of prize selection committees including those for the Frederick W. Lanchester Prize, the TIMS Distinguished Service Medal, and the John von Neumann Theory Prize. For his service to all three organization, he was awarded the George E. Kimball Medal in 1997.

Rothkopf’s research dealt with mathematical modeling. As early as 1965, he began writing about auctions and bidding. He co-edited two books and wrote over seventy articles, building upon such subjects as scheduling, market failure and energy policy, competitive bidding, and auction design.

In addition to being President, Rothkopf was an inaugural Fellow of INFORMS. As a Council Member of the College on the Practice of Management Science (CPMS) from 1991 until his death, he was instrumental in merging the Business Application Society into CPMS and overseeing the smooth transition of the two societies into one.

In 1988, Rothkopf left professional industry for academia and joined the faculty at the Rutgers Center for Operations Research (RUTCOR). He was a lifetime member of the Audubon Society, a frequent global traveler, and a fitness driven individual, keeping up a rigorous routine of a daily mile swim. Rothkopf left RUTCOR to join Pennsylvania State University but died shortly after the move. To honor his memory, Decision Analysis devoted a special issue (Volume 10, No. 2) to articles on auctions and bidding. 

Other Biographies

INFORMS. Miser-Harris Presidential Gallery: Michael H. Rothkopf. Accessed May 7, 2015. (link

Rutgers Center for Operations Research. Michael H. Rothkopf. Accessed May 7, 2015. (link


Pomona College, BA 1960

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MS 1962

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, PhD 1964


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas

Memoirs and Autobiographies


Rothkopf, Michael H, "Tales from a Non-Standard Career in Operations Research," Rutcor Research Report 48-2000, September, 2000, Piscataway NJ. (link)


Rutgers Faculty & Staff Bulletin. In Memorium: Michael H. Rothkopf. Accessed August 30, 2018. 

Boyer L (2008) Prof Dies in McCoy Pool. Daily Collegian (Rutgers)  February 19, 2008  (link

Awards and Honors

George E. Kimball Medal 1997

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2002

Professional Service

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), President 2004

The Institute of Management Science (TIMS), Vice President at Large 1992-1994

Selected Publications

Rothkopf M. H. (1966) Scheduling independent tasks on parallel processors. Management Science, 12(5): 437-447.

Rothkopf M. H. (1966) Scheduling with random service times. Management Science, 12(9): 707-713.

Rothkopf M. H. (1969) A model of rational competitive bidding. Management Science, 15(7): 362-373.

Rothkopf M. H. & Stark R. M. (1979) Competitive bidding: A comprehensive bibliography. Operations Research, 27(2): 364-390.

Fisher A. C. & Rothkopf M. H. (1989) Market failure and energy policy A rationale for selective conservation. Energy Policy, 17(4): 397-406.

Kahn E. P., Rothkopf M. H., & Teisberg T. J. (1990) Why are Vickrey auctions rare?. Journal of Political Economy, 98(1): 94-109.

Harstad R. M. & Rothkopf M. H. (1994) Modeling competitive bidding: A critical essay. Management Science, 40(3): 364-384.

Harstad R. M., Pekeč A., & Rothkopf M. H. (1998) Computationally manageable combinational auctions. Management Science, 44(8): 1131-1147.

Pekeč A. & Rothkopf M. H. (2003) Combinatorial auction design. Management Science, 49(11): 1485-1503.

Hobbs B. F., O'Neill R. P., Rothkopf M. H., Sotkiewicz P. M., & Stewart, W. R. (2005) Efficient market-clearing prices in markets with nonconvexities. European Journal of Operational Research, 164(1): 269-285.

Additional Resources

Bordley R. F., Katok E., & Keller L. R. (2010) Honoring Michael H. Kothkopf's legacy of rigor and relevance in Auction Theory: from the editors. Decision Analysis, 10(2): 1-4.