Bernard Roy

March 15, 1934

Brief Biography

Born in Moulins-sur-Allier in the center of France, Bernard Roy was the first member of his family to pursue an advanced education. His father was a prisoner of war who escaped along with Roy’s future father-in-law during World War II. German soldiers frequented his family home in an attempt to quell any activities aimed at undermining the Nazi regime of occupied France. As Roy grew up, he wanted to be an engineer, a requiring him to go through the system of Grande Écoles rather than traditional French universities. After conflicting with one of his instructors, however, Roy enrolled at the University of Paris to study mathematics. Roy went on to join the Statistics Institute of the university, where he interacted with several of France’s leading applied mathematicians. There, he completed his master’s thesis and began working on early linear programming problems.

In 1957, Roy joined the Société d’Économie et de Mathématiques Appliquées (SEMA) as a consultant. There, he was first tasked with translating chapters from the 1954 Introduction to Operations Research by C. West Churchman, Russell Ackoff, and E. Leonard Arnoff. Roy went on to solve project scheduling problems. In 1958, Roy was faced with the problem of scheduling the construction of two new buildings for a large Parisian company. He therefore developed a new method called Méthode de Potentiels Metra (MPM). Since its creation, the method has been successfully applied to a number of other scheduling problems. Between contracts, Roy worked towards a PhD on graph theory that he received from the University of Paris in 1961.

In 1969 and 1970, Roy published a seminal two-volume, thirteen hundred page textbook on graph theory. He organized two summer schools on that subject and discrete mathematics, the first in Italy and the second in France. These gatherings brought together leaders in graph theory and combinatorial optimization, allowing for significant conversation and rapid research growth in both disciplines.

Roy was asked to give a doctoral course on operations research at the newly created and experimental University of Paris-Dauphine. In 1971, he was made an associate professor of mathematics and later joined the university’s computer science department. He kept his position at SEMA until 1974 but began to progressively reduce his involvement after becoming a full professor two years earlier. Roy was responsible for reshaping the MS curriculum within the university’s management program and helped create the Laboratoire d’Analyse et Modelisation de Systems pour l’Aide á la Décision (LAMSADE), one of the first research groups in France dedicated to applied operations research. Over the course of his professorial career, Roy went on to supervise fifty doctoral students in operations research.

Later in his career, Roy developed an interest in multiple-criteria decision making. This led him to reevaluate the state of operations research which he realized was based on three assumptions. Roy grew skeptical about these assumptions and acknowledged that several actors are involved in many real-world problems and that said actors do not necessarily have structured opinions. It is for this reason and others that Roy prefers to speak of multiple-criteria decision analysis over multiple-criteria decision making.

Roy has received honorary doctoral degrees from six universities and is a recipient of the Association of European Operational Research Societies’ EURO Gold Medal. He is a former President of that association and served as president and vice president of the French Association for Economic and Technical Cybernetics (AFCET). 

Other Biographies

Profiles in Operations Research: Bernard Roy
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Wikipedia Entry (Francais) for Bernard Roy

Paris-Dauphine University. Laboratoire d'Analyse et Modelisation de Systemes pour l'Aide a ka DEcision (LAMSADE): Bernard ROY. Accessed May 21, 2015. (link


Statistics Institute of the University of Paris, 1957

University of Paris, PhD 1961


Academic Affiliations
  • Institute d'Etudes Politiques
  • L’Institut de statistique de l'université de Paris
  • Paris-Dauphine University
  • University of Paris
Non-Academic Affiliations
  • Centre National de la Recherche Scientifque (CNRS)
  • Electricite de France (EDF)
  • Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) 
  • Societe d'Economie et de Mathematiques Appliquees (SEMA)
  • Societe d'Estudes Pratiques de Recherche Operationnelle (SEPRO)

Key Interests in OR/MS

  • Multiple Criteria Decision Making
Application Areas

Awards and Honors

EURO Gold Medal 1992

International Society on Multiple Criteria Decision Making Gold Medal 1995

Professional Service

The Federation of European Operational Research Societies (EURO), President 1985-1986

Association Francaise pour la Cybernetique Economique et Technique (AFCET), President 1976-1978, Vice President 1974-1976

Selected Publications

Roy B. (1968) Classement et choix en présence de points de vue multiples. RAIRO-Operations Research-Recherche Opérationnelle, 2(V1): 57-75.

Roy B. (1969) Algèbre Moderne et Théorie des Graphes Orientées Vers les Sciences Economiques et Sociales: Volume 1: Notions et Résultats Fondamentaux. Dunond: Paris. 

Roy B. (1970) Algèbre Moderne et Théorie des Graphes Orientées Vers les Sciences Economiques et Sociales: Volume 2: Applications et Problèmes Spécifiques. Dunond: Paris.

Roy B. (1971) Problems and methods with multiple objective functions. Mathematical Programming, 1(1): 239-266.

Roy B. (1978) ELECTRE III: Un algorithme de classements fondé sur une représentation floue des préférences en présence de criteres multiples. Cahiers du CERO, 20(1): 3-24.

Giard V. E. & Roy B. (1985) Méthodologie Multicritère D'aide à la Décision. Editions Economica: Paris.

Roy B. (1988) Main Sources of Inaccurate Determination, Uncertainty and Imprecision in Decision Models. Springer Netherlands: Amsterdam.

Roy B. P. & Vincke P. (1989) L'aide Multicritère à la Décision. Editions Ellipses: Paris.

Roy B. (1991) The outranking approach and the foundations of ELECTRE methods. Theory and Decision, 31(1), 49-73.

Roy B. (1993) Decision science or decision-aid science?. European Journal of Operational Research, 66(2), 184-203.

Roy B. (1996) Multicriteria Methodology for Decision Aiding. Springer Science & Business Media: New York.

Figueira J., Mousseau V., & Roy B. (2005) ELECTRE methods. Ehrogott M., Figueira J., & Greco S., eds. in Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis: State of the Art Surveys, 133-153. Springer: New York.