Arthur F. Veinott, Jr.

October 12, 1934 – December 12, 2012

Brief Biography

Arthur Fales Vienott Jr. was an operations researcher at Stanford University and a John von Neumann Theory Prize recipient. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Veinott went on to earn Bachelors of Arts and Science degrees from Lehigh University in 1956. He studied at Columbia University and earned a Doctorate of Science in 1960, under the supervision of Cyrus Derman. Veinott spent his first two years out of graduate school as a first lieutenant and operations analyst for the United States Air Force Logistics Command prior to joining the faculty at Stanford University in 1962.

Veinott was drawn to operations research as a multidisciplinary field that involved faculty and research from engineering, business, and the humanities and sciences. He played a major role in developing the university’s Department of Operations Research, attracting renowned faculty members and promising students. At Stanford, his research interests included optimization, stochastic systems and analysis, dynamic programming, supply-chain optimization, inventory theory, and network optimization. He graduated nearly thirty PhD students, including Lanchester Prize-winner Martin Puterman and future Mathematics of Operations Research editor-in-chief Uriel G. Rothblum. Veinott went on to chair the department at Stanford from 1975 to 1985.

In 1965, Veinott published an article in Management Science on an optimal policy for a multi-product, dynamic, nonstationary inventory problem. The paper concerned an inventory problem in which the system is reviewed at the beginning of each of a sequence of periods of equal length. To this day, the article stands as Veinott’s most influential piece, having been cited in nearly three hundred and fifty different publications.

Veinott was an active member of the operations research professional community. With the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA), he was a member of the Resources Planning Committee and the National Science Foundation Liaison Committee. In 1985 and 1986, he chaired the Publications Committee of ORSA. Veinott was also a Council Member of The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS) and served as Vice President of Publications from 1973 to 1976. He was the founding editor of Mathematics of Operations Research (1974-1980), a journal aimed a publishing articles that have significant mathematical content and relevance to operations research and management science. Veinott was also an Associate Editor of Management Science (1963-1969) and the Annals of Statistics (1972-1974).

In 2007, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), the successor of ORSA and TIMS, awarded Veinott the John von Neumann Theory Prize for profound contributions in three major areas of operations research and the management sciences. In dynamic programming, he was celebrated for developing algorithms by finding optimal policies for problems with small interest rates and introducing new optimality criteria for problems in which populations are managed over time with Rothblum. In lattice programming, Veinott was lauded for his significant contributions to the literature of the subject and the employment of “comparative statistics.” Finally, in inventory theory, he was recognized for having been the first to address and find an optimal dynamic policy for a problem with multiple products and nonstationary demands.

In addition to the John von Neumann Theory Prize, Veinott received a number of other honors in his lifetime. He was an inaugural Fellow of INFORMS, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. Veinott passed away at Stanford Hospital in 2012. 

Other Biographies

Lehigh University P. C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science. Accessed May 14, 2015. (link

Stanford University. Management Science and Engineering History: Arthur F. Veinott, Jr. Accessed May 14, 2015. (link


Lehigh University, BA & BS 1956

Columbia University, DSc 1960 (Mathematics Genealogy


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas

Memoirs and Autobiographies


Arthur F. Veinott, Jr. Curriculum Vitae


Meyers A. (2013) INFORMS NEWS: In memoriam - Arthur 'Pete' Veinott Jr. (1934-2012). OR/MS Today, 39(1). (link)

Stanford University Engineering. News & Updates: Stanford operations research expert Arthur Veinott Dies at 78. Published December 20, 2012. Accessed May 14, 2015. (link)

Awards and Honors

Institute of Mathematical Statistics Fellow 1970

National Academy of Engineering 1986

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2002

John von Neumann Theory Prize 2007

Professional Service

The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS), Vice President-Publications 1973-1976

Selected Publications

Veinott Jr. A. F. & Wagner H. M. (1962) Optimal Capacity Scheduling. RAND Corporation: Santa Monica, CA.

Veinott Jr. A. F. & Wagner H. M. (1965) Computing optimal (s,S) inventory policies. Management Science, 11(5):  525-552.

Veinott Jr. A. F. (1965) Optimal policy in a dynamic, single-product, nonstationary inventory model with several demand classes. Operations Research, 13(5): 761-778.

Veinott Jr. A. F. (1965) The optimal inventory policy for batch ordering. Operations Research, 13(3): 424-432.

Veinott Jr. A. F. (1966) The status of mathematical inventory theory. Management Science, 12(9): 745-777.

Veinott Jr. A. F. (1969) Minimum concave cost solution of Leontief substitution model of multi-facility inventory systems. Operations Research, 17(2): 262-291.

Miller B. & Veinott Jr. A. F. (1969) Discrete dynamic programming with a small interest rate. Annals of Mathematical Statistics, 40(2): 366-370.

Cottle R. & Veinott Jr. A. F. (1972) Polyhedral sets having a least element. Mathematical Programming, 3(2): 238-249.

Katehakis M. & Veinott Jr. A. F. (1987) The multi-armed bandit problem: decomposition and computation. Mathematics of Operations Research, 12(2): 262-268.

Hoffman A. J. & Veinott Jr. A. F. (1993) Staircase transportation problems with superadditive rewards and cumulative capacities. Mathematical Programming, 24(1): 199-213.