Timothy J. Lowe

May 5, 1942

Brief Biography

Lowe Speaker Portrait

Timothy J. Lowe is a Franz Edelman Laureate and Fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). Lowe studied engineering at Iowa State University prior to obtaining a PhD in operations research from Northwestern University in 1973. His dissertation on the market area problem was supervised by Arthur P. Hurter, Jr.

Prior to pursuing graduate study, Lowe was employed as a project engineer and business analyst at Enjay Chemical Company in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He paused his engineering career in 1967 to serve two years in the US Army Data Support Command as a 1st Lieutenant and data processing analyst. Lowe’s first postdoctoral position was in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at the University of Florida, where he worked on location problems. He left Florida for the Krannert Graduate School of Management at Purdue University in 1978 where he remained until accepting a position at the College of Business, University of Iowa.  In addition, he was Director of the Manufacturing Productivity Center at the University of Iowa.

From 1990 to 1994, Lowe was associated with the International Management Master’s Program at the Instituto Technologico Autonomo de Mexico. During that period, he published an influential paper in the European Journal of Operational Research on a flow network design for manufacturing systems layout with Benoit Montreuil and Dilip Chhajed. The paper defined a shortest rectilinear flow network problem and formulated it as an optimization problem. Lowe left Iowa for a year to serve as the Smeal Chair in Supply Chair and Information Systems at Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of Business.

Lowe worked with Syngenta Seeds, Inc., an agricultural firm that produces more than fifty seed-corn hybrids in a given year. Given that the seed growing process is a biological one, there exists a large number of uncertain factors that the company must face. To better manage this production-planning process, Lowe’s team (a partnership between Syngenta and the University of Iowa) developed and implemented a production-planning model to manage the seed-corn supply chain. The project proved a five million dollar margin increase and was named a Finalist for the Franz Edelman Prize of INFORMS in 2002.

Lowe is a member of the INFORMS Speakers Program and gives talks on introductory operations research, application of the traveling salesman problem in gas turbine engine design, competitive manufacturing, and facilities location. He was elected a Fellow of INFORMS in 2007. 

Other Biographies

INFORMS Connect with People. Speakers Program: Lowe, Timothy J. (University of Iowa). Accessed June 5, 2015. (link)

University of Cincinatti College of Business Administration. Department of Quantitative Analysis and Operations Management: Timothy J. Lowe. Accessed June 5, 2015. (link)


Iowa State University, BS 1965

Iowa State University, MEng 1967

Northwestern University, PhD 1973 (Mathematics Genealogy)


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas
  • Agriculture

Oral Histories

Timothy Lowe (2019) Interview by Kurt Anstreicher, October 30, 2019, at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA

NOTE: The video chapter transcripts are searchable, with search results displayed as marks on the time bar above the search box.  Click a mark to jump to the search word or phrase in the video and transcript, or click on any word in the transcript to jump to that point in the video.

Jump to Chapters

Chapter 1: Introduction, Early Life, and Family
Chapter 2: College at Iowa State University
Chapter 3: Getting a PhD at Northwestern University
Chapter 4: Early Career Mentors
Chapter 5: Academic Positions at the University of Florida, Purdue, Penn State and the University of Iowa
Chapter 6: Non-Academic Positions at Exxon and the US Army
Chapter 7: An Epiphany about Teaching
Chapter 8: How OR Has Changed
Chapter 9: Convex Location Problems on Tree Networks
Chapter 10: A Traveling Salesman Problem in Engine Design
Chapter 11: A Location Problem in Tooling Design
Chapter 12: Managing a Seed Corn Supply Chain
Chapter 13: The Impact of These Papers
Chapter 14: Professional Roles at INFORMS
Chapter 15: The Pedagogy of Operations Research
Chapter 16: Restoring Classic Cars
Chapter 17 : Wrap-Up Questions

Memoirs and Autobiographies


University of Iowa Tippie College of Business. People Directory: Timothy J. Lowe. Accessed June 5, 2015. (link)

Awards and Honors

Franz Edelman Laureate 2002

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2007

Selected Publications

Dearing P. M., Francis R. L., & Lowe T. J. (1976) Convex location problems on tree networks. Operations Research, 24(4): 628-642.

Fracis R. L., Lowe T. J., & Tansel B. C. (1983) State of the art - location on networks: a survey. Part I: the p-center and p-median problems. Management Science, 29(4): 482-497.

Chhajed D., Lowe T. J., & Montreuil B. (1992) Flow network design for manufacturing systems layout. European Journal of Operational Research, 57(2): 145-161.

Jones P. C., Kegler G., Lowe T. J., & Traub R. D. (2003) Managing the seed-corn supply chain at Syngnta. Interfaces, 33(1): 80-90.

Lowe T. J. & Preckel P. V. (2004) Decision technologies for agribusiness problems: a brief review of selected literature and a call for research. Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 6(3): 201-208.