Joseph L. Balintfy

May 21, 1924 – November 30, 2008

Brief Biography

Joseph L. Balintfy was an operations researcher who helped bring OR to the study of food and nutrition. A native of Budapest, Balintfy held mechanical and economic engineering degrees from the University of Technical Sciences in Hungary. He supported the spontaneous Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and was honored for his role in it by Hungarian government in 1991. As a Rockafellar Scholar, Balintfy went to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore where he earned a PhD in engineering. He was Professor of Operations Research at Tulane University for a decade prior to joining the University of Massachusetts, Amherst as Professor of Management Science and, later, General Business and Finance.

Focusing his early work on stochastic modeling for the analysis of admissions and discharges in hospitals and other health care facilities, Balintfy starting focusing on food related problems in the mid-1960s and the 1970s. By adding probability and studying the cost of decent subsistence, he formulated a low-cost diet that optimized nutritional value and had considerable implications for national policy. Balintfy authored papers on a variety of pertinent problems including menu planning by computer, modeling food preferences over time, and mathematical programming for food management applications.  The later was developed to reduce the food cost of institutional feeding programs by computer assisted menu planning and data control. For this successful implementation of mathematical programming, Balintfy was named a Finalist of the 1975 Franz Edelman Award competition for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

 Balintfy’s skills in developing computer applications complimented his nutritional work. He designed the Computer Assisted Menu Planning (CAMP) System that was integrated into the IBM Contributed Programs Library. The United States Departments of Agriculture and Public Health awarded his numerous grants to pursue further development in this area. After Balintfy’s death in 2009, his family established the Joseph L. Balintfy Endowed Scholarship in Mathematics and Computer Sciences at the University of South Carolina Upstate nearby his resting place. 


Johns Hopkins University, PhD 1962


Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas
  • Food & Nutrition


Forrest Hills Funeral Home: In Memoriam: Josepg L. Balintfy. Accessed May 30, 2015. (link)

University of Massachusetts News Office. Obituary: Joseph L. Balintfy, professor emeritus of business. Published February 3, 2009. Accessed May 30, 2015. (link)

Awards and Honors

Franz Edelman Award Finalist 1975

Selected Publications

Balintfy J. L. (1960) A stochastic model for the analysis and prediction of admissions and discharges in hospitals. Management Sciences: Models and Techniques, 2: 288-299.

Balintfy J. L. (1964) Menu planning by computer. Communications of the ACM, 7(4): 255-259.

Balintfy J. L. (1964) On a basic class of multi-item inventory problems. Management Science, 10(2): 287-297.

Balintfy J. L., Duffy W. J., & Sinha P. (1974) Modeling food preferences over time. Operations Research, 22(4): 711-727.

Balintfy J. L. (1975) A mathematical programming system for food management applications. Interfaces, 6(1b): 13-31. 

Monsen E. R. & Balintfy J. L. (1982) Calculating dietary iron bioavailability: refinement and computerization. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 80(4): 307-311.

Additional Resources

John F. Raffenspereger. Balintfy made the world better with OR. Published February 20, 2009. Accessed May 30, 2015. (link)