Hugh J. Miser

ORSA President, 1962

Hugh Miser was the 11th President of ORSA.A pioneer in operations research, Miser began OR work during 1945 in the Pacific air war. He attended the 1952 founding meeting of ORSA. From 1958 to 1961 served as ORSA’s secretary. Later, he became vice president and then president of ORSA. Dr. Miser was editor-in-chief of Operations Research from 1968 to 1974. He was awarded the George E. Kimball Medal for service to the profession in 1975, the second year the medal was awarded. Hugh Miser was an intellectual leader of the profession. He worked tirelessly to preserve and propagate the history and traditions of his profession, an endeavor that inspired many of his colleagues. As Michael Rothkopf, the 10th President of INFORMS said “Hugh J. Miser was first a skilled practitioner the art of OR, then a force in organizing it into a profession, then an editor helping to define the field, and ultimately a philosopher helping us to understand its fundamental nature.”

Hugh Miser was introduced to O.R. when he joined the Operations Analysis Office of the U.S. Army in January, 1945. After a few months, he moved to the 20th Air Force’s forward headquarters on Guam, where he served until the end of the war. After the war, he completed a doctorate returned to teaching at Williams College where he had taught for three years prior to being in the Army. Then, in 1949, he joined the Operations Analysis Office at U.S. Air Force headquarters where he remained until 1965.

For the next 20 years Dr. Miser practiced operations research, tackling a variety of problems and taking on increasing responsibilities. He worked at the Research Triangle Institute, MIT, the Mitre Corporation, and the Travelers Research Center, where he led a successful effort to reorient the way the automobile insurance industry addressed traffic safety. In 1969, he returned to academia on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. From 1979 until his retirement in 1982, he was a member of the staff of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria. After his retirement he continued to be deeply involved with O.R. until his death in 1999.

He was an internationalist who helped found the International Federation of Operations Research Societies (IFORS) and Abstracts in Operations Research.

His three-volume Handbook of Systems Analysis (co-edited with E. S. Quade) was published over the period 1985 to 1995. Later, he edited a volume of wartime operations research reminiscences for the INFORMS Topics in Operations Research series, and he served actively as a contributing editor of Interfaces for many years. His writings emphasized the history, practice, and underlying philosophical foundations of OR/MS.

His honors included Fellow of the American academy of arts and Sciences, the Harold Lardner Prize and Lectureship of the Canadian Operations Research Society (1990), the Jacinto Steinhardt Memorial Award from the Military Applications Section of INFORMS (1999), and the INFORMS Phillip McCord Morse Lectureship, In addition, he was a founding member of the Academy of Sciences in his adopted home state of Connecticut.

Hugh Miser died in 1999.

BA, 1938, Vanderbilt; MS, 1940, Illinois Institute of Technology; Ph.D. (mathematics), 1945, Ohio State

Hugh J. Miser's Awards