Carl M. Harris

ORSA President, 1990

Carl M. Harris was the 39th President of ORSA. He was BDM International Professor of Operations Research and the founding chair of the Systems Engineering and Operations Research Department in the School of Information Technology and Engineering at George Mason University (GMU). Previously, he had served as associate dean for research and graduate studies at GMU. In 1999, Dr. Harris won the INFORMS George E. Kimball Medal, in recognition of his many years of distinguished service to the O.R. profession. His keen interest in the history and traditions of the profession inspired him to launch the Presidential Portraits Gallery project of INFORMS.

Before joining GMU, Dr. Harris was professor of systems engineering at the University of Virginia (1981-1985), department chair of the Industrial Engineering Department at Syracuse University (1975-1981), and professor of operations research at George Washington University (1970-1975).

The research interests of Dr. Harris included applied probability and statistics, queueing theory, simulation, and public systems analysis. Most recently, he investigated Internet-type queues for traffic engineering. He is the author or co-author of approximately 80 scholarly papers, co-author with Donald Gross of three editions of Fundamentals of Queueing Theory, co-editor of three volumes of queueing research papers, and co-author of two large software packages for queueing analysis. With Saul I. Gass, he co-edited The Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science, published in 1996, and revised for a new edition that appeared in 2001.

Dr. Harris began his professional career as a senior research mathematician at the Western Electric Engineering Research Center in Princeton, New Jersey. He then worked for the Research Analysis Corporation in McLean, Virginia. Later, he was an active consultant to government and industry including the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Energy, Justice, and Treasury, as well as to NASA and GAO.

Prof. Harris died suddenly of a heart attack in 2000. A memorial article outlining his lifelong contributions appears in the fall 2000 issue of the INFORMS Journal on Computing.

B.A. (mathematics), Queens College; PhD (mathematics) 1966 Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn.