October 30, 2002
Scholar From The UCLA Anderson Awarded Harold Larnder Prize
Professor Arthur Geoffrion Wins Prestigious Award for International Distinction in Operational Research
Dr. Arthur Geoffrion, James A. Collins Professor of Management at UCLA Anderson is this year’s recipient of the Harold Larnder Prize. The award, given annually by the Canadian Operational Research Society (CORS), recognizes an individual who has achieved international distinction in operational research. Dr. Geoffrion’s work in operational research has helped improve decision-making and operations in business and government through the development and application of analytical methods.
The Harold Larnder Prize is financed through the Harold Larnder Memorial Trust of CORS. The award’s namesake is best known for co-developing the first operational radar system and founding and leading the first “operational research” group. Each prizewinner delivers the Harold Larnder Memorial Lecture on a topic of general interest to operational research at the annual CORS conference. Fellow UCLA Anderson professor and former dean, Dr. William Pierskalla, was the recipient of the Larnder Prize in 1993.
At this year’s 44th annual CORS conference, Dr. Geoffrion delivered a lecture titled “What Do You Say When They Ask You WHY?” He spoke to the great changes brought about for analytical methods by the advent of cheap computing power. “Computational methods increasingly produce results that outrun analysts’ understanding of their true significance because analysts tend to rely more on computing and less on thinking than they typically did before the computer revolution. This may be more ‘cost-effective’ in a myopic sense, but it may also be less productive in the longer term,” said Dr. Geoffrion during his talk.
Dr. Geoffrion believes that “in many situations, decision makers and policy makers need to understand the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ of computational solutions in order to convince themselves and others of the need for action or to deepen their own understanding of the system under study.” He advocates the use of conceptually simple models, arguments, and spreadsheets as adjuncts to complex computational models to help explain important aggregate properties of detailed computational solutions. Further detail about his work can be found at:
Dr. Geoffrion is the area chair for Decisions, Operations and Technology Management at UCLA Anderson. The author of more than 60 published works, he is currently studying analytical methods for electronic commerce. His research has been supported by about 45 grants and contracts from such prestigious organizations as the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research. His work in the area of distribution planning was awarded a NATO System Science Prize. He is an honorary member of Omega Rho and a fellow of the International Academy of Management. In 1997, Dr. Geoffrion was president of the leading professional society in his field, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, and in 1998 he became the first UCLA Anderson professor to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering.
The Canadian Operational Research Society
Established in 1958, the Canadian Operational Research Society works to advance the theory and practice of operational research. Its primary purpose is to stimulate and promote the exchange of ideas and information among individuals interested in operational research.
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