Stanley Zionts

January 18, 1937

Brief Biography

Zionts Fellowship Portrait

Over the course of his career, Stanley Zionts has been a leading figure in multiple criteria decision making (MCDM) and mathematical programming. While mathematical programming usually optimizes a single criterion or objective function, MCDM refers to making decisions in the presence of multiple objectives that may be in conflict with each other. Zionts was introduced to MCDM by William W. Cooper at Carnegie-Mellon University, where he received degrees in electrical engineering and industrial administration. Zionts was inspired by the early developments in goal programming made by Cooper and Abraham Charnes and designed a multiple-criteria negotiating model in 1968. He continued his work in the area before meeting future collaborator Jyrki Wallenius at the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management in 1973. Their 1976 article on interactive programming methods for solving the multiple criteria problem made an advance for the young discipline.

Zionts organized the first International Conference on MCDM held in Jouy-en-Josas, near Paris, France. Two years later, in 1977, he hosted the second Conference at the University of Buffalo. At the third such meeting, located in Konigswinter, near Bonn, Germany in 1979, participants founded the Special Interest Group (SIG) on MCDM. Zoints was selected as the SIG’s first leader. He served as president of the organization until 1992, overseeing the group’s eventual transformation into the International Society on Multiple Criteria Decision Making. The biennial meetings have since been held across the globe, with society membership coming from over ninety nations. Zionts was award the first ever MCDM Gold Medal after his term as president.

Zionts has made major research contributions in several other areas of management science and operations research. In his numerous publications, he has explored such areas as linear programming and decision support systems. Additionally, Zionts has conducted research in computer simulation, the application of different games to marketing, information systems, the role of mathematics in university education, and election campaign financing. He has studied such topical areas as Hong Kong’s 1997 reunification with China and potential reforms to the United States Social Security System.

Zionts served on the faculty of the University of Buffalo’s School on Management and its Department of Industrial Engineering from 1967 to 2005. He is now the Alumni Professor Emeritus of Decision Support Systems, UB Distinguished Professor Emeritus, and Adjunct Professor Emeritus of Industrial Engineering. Zionts was elected as a Fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences in 2006.

For many years Zionts has been a part-time ski instructor at the Park City Mountain resort and Canyon resort in Park City Utah.

Other Biographies

INFORMS. Speakers Program: Zionts, Stanley (State University of New York). Accessed March 11, 2015. (link)

University of Buffalo School of Management. Management Science and System Faculty: Stanley Zionts. Accessed March 10, 2015. (link)

University of Buffalo News Center. News Releases: Zionts Named Fellow of INFORMS. Published November 15, 2006. Accessed March 11, 2015. (link)


Carnegie-Mellon University, BS

Carnegie-Mellon University, MS

Carnegie-Mellon University, PhD 


Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas

Awards and Honors

Multiple Criteria Decision Making Gold Medal 1992

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2006

Professional Service

International Society on Multiple Criteria Decision Making, President 1979-1992

Selected Publications

Zionts S. (1969) The criss-cross method for solving linear programming problems. Management Science, 15(7): 426-445.

Chen A. H., Jen F. C., & Zionts S. (1971) The optimal portfolio revision policy. Journal of Business, 44(1): 51-61.

Zionts S. (1974) Linear and Integer Programming. Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Wallenius S. Z. & Zionts S. (1976) An Interactive Programming Method for Solving the Multiple Criteria Problem. Management Science, 22(6): 652-662.

Zionts S. (1981) A multiple criteria method for choosing among discrete alternatives. European Journal of Operational Research, 7(2): 143-147.

Wallenius J. & Zionts S. (1983) An Interactive Multiple objective linear programming method for a class of underlying nonlinear utility functions. Management Science, 29(5): 519-529.

Korhonen P., Wallenius J., & Zionts S. (1984) Solving the discrete multiple criteria problem using convex cones. Management Science, 30(11): 1336-1345.

Dyer J. S., Fishburn P. C., Steuer R. E., & Zionts S. (1992) Multiple Criteria Decision Making, Multiattribute Utility Theory: The Next Ten Years. Management Science, 38(5): 645-654.

Lofti V., Stewart T. J., & Zionts S. (1992) An aspiration-level interactive model for multiple criteria decision making. Computers & Operations Research, 19(7): 671-681.

Wang C. H., Gopal R. D., & Zionts S. (1997) Use of data envelopment analysis in assessing information technology impact on firm performance. Annals of Operations Research, 73: 191-213.

Additional Resources

Karwan M. H., Spronk J., & Wallenius J. (1997) Essays in Decision Making: A Volume in Honour of Stanley Zionts. Springer-Verlag: Berlin. 

International Society on Multiple Criteria Decision Making. About: Short MCDM History. Accessed March 10, 2015. (link)