In Memoriam: Philip S. Wolfe (1927-2016)

Philip S. Wolfe

Philip S. Wolfe, a mathematician and one of the founders of convex optimization theory and mathematical programming, passed away on Dec. 29, 2016. He was 89.

Born in California in 1927, Dr. Wolfe earned his Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley and went on to become one of the founding fathers of the field of optimization, the mathematics that underlies modern operations research. He joined Rand in 1957, where he worked with George Dantzig on the Dantzig-Wolfe decomposition method. Dr. Wolfe spent the majority of his career at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center, which he first joined in 1965.

In 1992, Dr. Wolfe received the John von Neumann Theory Prize (jointly with Alan Hoffman) from ORSA, a forerunner of INFORMS.

Dr. Wolfe is survived by his wife, Hallie Flanagan Wolfe, his daughter Sarah of Whitehorse, Canada, and grandchildren Duncan and Sidney.

A more substantial account of Dr. Wolfe’s many accomplishments will appear in a future issue of OR/MS Today.