David M. Ryan

Brief Biography

Ryan Fellow Portrait

David M. Ryan is a recipient of the Prize for the Teaching of the OR/MS Practice and has made contributions to operations research in airline operations, scheduling, transportation, and forestry. Ryan received a Master of Science in mathematics from the University of Otago in New Zealand and a PhD in numerical analysis from the Australian National University in Canberra. He is currently Professor Emeritus in the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Engineering

As a Professor of Operations Research and former Department Head of Engineering Science at Auckland, Ryan has played a significant role in inspiring and education a generation of driven and successful operations research practitioners in New Zealand and across the globe. There, he hired renowned faculty members and designed superior graduate and undergraduate programs in OR. Ryan made sure that instruction was driven by real-world problems built upon the tripod of theory, practice, and implementation. Many of his former students have since become successful educators and operations research practitioners. Five of them have won the Young Practitioner Prize of the Operational Research Society of New Zealand.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, Ryan’s most influential work dealt with crew scheduling on airlines. His 1981 chapter on an integer programming approach to scheduling, published inComputer Scheduling of Public Transport Urban Passenger Vehicle and Crew Scheduling, has been cited in over three hundred and eighty publications.  

In 2010, the Energy, Natural Resources, and the Environment Section (ENRE) of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) named a paper by Ryan and fellow Auckland Professor, Alastair McNaughton, the Best Publication in Forestry. Their article, published in Forrest Science, introduced a new concept, a nuclear set, which allows the unit-specific aspects of problems pertaining to forest harvesting in areas with clearfell restrictions to be analyzed in an insightful manner.

In addition to being a recipient of the INFORMS Prize for the Teaching of OR/MS Practice, Ryan was named a Fellow of that society in 2007. 

Other Biographies

The University of Auckland Directory. Emeritus Professor David Murray Ryan. Accessed May 18, 2015. (link)


University of Otago, MS

Australian National University, PhD 


Academic Affiliations
  • Australian National University
  • University of Auckland
  • University of Otago

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas

Awards and Honors

Prize for Teaching of the OR/MS Practice 2002

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2007

ENRE Best Publication Award in Forestry 2010

Fellow, Royal Society of New Zealand 2003

Selected Publications

Anderssen R. S., Jennings L. S., & Ryan D. M., eds. (1972) Optimizations. Australian National University: Canberra, AU.

Foster B. A. & Ryan D. M. (1981) An integer programming approach to scheduling. Wren A., ed. in Computer Scheduling of Public Transport Urban Passenger Vehicle and Crew Scheduling, 269-280. North-Holland Publishing Company: Amsterdam. 

Osborne M. R. & Ryan D. M. (1988) On the solution of highly degenerate linear programmes. Mathematical Programming, 41(1-3): 385-392.

Ryan D. M. (1992) The solution of massive generalized set partitioning problems in aircrew rostering. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 43(5):459-467. 

Glover F., Hjorring C., &  Ryan D. M. (1993) Extensions of the petal method for vehicle routeing. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 44(289-296.

Day P. R. & Ryan D. M. (1997) Flight attendant rostering for short-haul airline operations. Operations Research, 45(5): 649-661. 

Mason A. J., Panton D. M., & Ryan, D. M. (1998) Integrated simulation, heuristic and optimisation approaches to staff scheduling. Operations Research, 46(2): 161-175.

Putterill M., Rouse P., & Ryan D. M. (2002) Integrated performance measurement design: insights from an application in aircraft maintenance. Management Accounting Research,13(2): 229-248.

McNaughton A. J. & Ryan D. M. (2008) Adjacency branches used to optimize forest harvesting subject to area restrictions on clearfell. Forest Science, 54(4): 442-454.