INFORMS NEWS: IN MEMORIAM - MARCEL F. NEUTS (1935 - 2014)

Marcel F. Neuts

Marcel F. Neuts, a recipient of the Prize for Research Excellence from the Operations Research Society of America (a forerunner of INFORMS) and the 21st honorary member of Omega Rho for his contributions to operations research and management science (1993), died March 9 in Tucson, Ariz. He was 79.

Celebrated for his many accomplishments in applied probability and stochastic modeling, Professor Neuts served as chairman (1977-78) of what is now known as the INFORMS Applied Probability Society (APS) and on the advisory board of the INFORMS Journal of Computing (2002).

Professor Neuts earned his Ph.D. in statistics from Stanford in 1961. During his long and productive academic career, he held professorships at Purdue University, the University of Delaware and the University of Arizona, where he retired in 1997.

Teaching and science were Professor Neuts’ true passions. He published five books on mathematics, and his many students became part of his family. He was an excellent speaker, traveled the world as a guest lecturer, spoke many languages and embraced the cultures that he visited.

“While he was most well-known for his work on his matrix analytic methods, he had an even broader footprint making contributions on several topics including retrial queues and servers with breakdowns. He boasted more than 20 Ph.D. students and 170+ descendants,” says Mark Lewis of Cornell University and chair of the APS. “Since his retirement, Professor Neuts traveled extensively giving talks on his research and challenging young probabilists with a long list of open problems. His passion for the study of probability and for interactions with colleagues will be sorely missed.”

Born in Belgium in 1935, Professor Neuts and his wife Olga moved to the United States in 1956 so that Marcel could continue his studies at Stanford. Along with his wife, Professor Neuts is survived by his four children (Chris Neuts, Myriam Neuts, Kitty Neuts Sedam and Debbie Neuts) and several grandchildren. ORMS

Sources: Arizona Daily Star, Stochastic Models and Mark Lewis (chair, APS)