Who Is John D. C. Little?


John D. C. Little

>John D. C. Little ("Philip M. Morse and the Beginnings") is best known in OR/MS for his proof of the queuing formula,L=" W," commonly called Little's Law. He is also considered a founder of marketing science. Dr. Little is an Institute Professor at MIT and teaches in the Sloan School.

He graduated from MIT in 1948 with an S.B. in physics. After working two years at GE, he returned for graduate work but gradually switched to operations research, studying with OR pioneer, Philip Morse, and graduating in 1955 as the first Ph.D. in OR. From 1957-62 he taught at Case Western Reserve. Professor Little early recognized the power of combining optimization and computation. His thesis involved dynamic programming applied to hydroelectric operations. He co-authored a paper on the traveling salesman problem that introduced the term "branch and bound" to optimization. Another paper included the first computerized settings for fixed-time traffic signals. Still another introduced the concept of an online marketing model. His research in marketing encompasses a broad set of modeling and decision support issues that have led naturally to his current interest in e-commerce and marketing automation. Professor

Little has long been active in professional societies, having been president of both ORSA and TIMS, and chairing the committee that merged these two organizations, after which he became the first president of INFORMS. Among his honors, Professor Little is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and recipient of honorary degrees from the Universities of Liege and Mons. He received the Parlin and Converse Awards of the American Marketing Association, ORSA's Kimball Medal, and TIMS' Distinguished Service Medal. He is a fellow of AAAS and currently on its Council. He also co-founded a marketing models firm, Management Decision Systems, which was later acquired by Information Resources, and, more recently, an internet company that is now part of Kana Software.

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