Robert M. Oliver

ORSA President, 1973


Robert Oliver

Robert M. Oliver was the 22nd President of ORSA in 1973-74. He is Professor Emeritus of Operations Research and Engineering Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

He was Director, Management Science Division of Broadview Research Corporation (1958-1960). He joined the University of California, Berkeley in 1960, where he was Chairman of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (1964-69), Director of the Operations Research Center (1972-75), and Dean for Research in the College of Engineering. He retired in 1993 and was awarded the University of California Berkeley Citation.

Dr. Oliver was a member of the board of the Fair Isaac Corporation (1985-2003) and became its Chairman in 1995. He was appointed a member of the Board of Trustees of ANSER Corporation in 1969, and was Chairman of the Board from 1989-2005. He was instrumental in forming the Homeland Security Institute for the newly formed Department of Homeland Security in 2003-04. He has been a Trustee of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute and Chairman of the Boards of The Berkeley Repertory and Aurora Theatres.

Professor Oliver’s research and teaching interests included prediction of rare events and risk (e.g., nuclear incidents, mid-air collisions), credit risk scoring and assessment, decision analysis tools for controlling financial risks, and analytical models for controlling fraud and default losses. He taught courses in forecasting, prediction and decision-making models. He has been the author and co-author of three books "Flows in Transportation Networks", with Renfrey B. Potts, [1972] "Influence Diagrams, Belief Nets, and Decision Analysis, Proceedings of the Berkeley Influence Diagram Conference", with J. Q. Smith [1990], "Decision Making and Forecasting: Model Building and Policy Analysis", with K. T. Marshall, [1995]. His publications include over 150 journal articles.

While President of ORSA he initiated discussions and meetings with officers and members of the Institute of Management Sciences to discuss the possibility of joint publications and meetings. He undertook the initial steps for the bundling and pricing of different publications associated with ORSA membership including an arrangement with TIMS and SIAM and the O.R. Quarterly (U.K.) for substantial discounts to ORSA members. He introduced several budgetary reforms which eventually led to the adoption of journal pricing policies whose objective was to significantly increase the readership and distribution of publications in Operations Research and Management Science.

In addition to being an inaugural Fellow of INFORMS, Dr. Oliver received the Lanchester Prize (with Aryeh Samuel) for research in predicting and optimally scheduling U.S. Post Office mail flow and sorting operations. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, recognized for his leadership in the development of financial engineering and the application of operations research to important public problems.

B.Sc. (Physics), 1952, MIT; Fulbright Scholar (Mathematics/Physics), 1953-54, University of London (UK); PhD (Physics), 1957, MIT

Robert M. Oliver's Awards