Merrill M. Flood

TIMS President, 1955; ORSA President, 1961-1962

Merrill M. Flood served as the President of both TIMS and ORSA. He was a founding member of TIMS and its second President in 1955. In 1961, he was elected President of ORSA. He also served as Vice President of the Institute of Industrial Engineers from 1962 to 1965.

Merrill Flood provided the management science/operations research community with many decades of broad-gauged guidance. As early as 1936-1946, he applied innovative systems analysis to public problems and developed cost-benefit analysis in the civilian sector and cost effectiveness analysis in the military sector.

Equally at home in his original field of the mathematics of matrices and in the pragmatic trenches of the industrial engineer, his research addressed an impressive array of operations research problems. His 1953 paper on the Hitchcock transportation problem is often cited, but he also published work on the traveling salesman problem, and an algorithm for solving the von Neumann hide and seek problem.

Merrill Flood’s career took him from Princeton University to the War Department, to the Rand Corporation, on to Columbia University and the University of Michigan. He was a pioneer and leader in demonstrating the applicability of his chosen field of operations research to problems drawn from all levels of society. For his many contributions and the example he set for the profession, he was awarded ORSA's George E. Kimball Medal in 1983. His views of the profession are very well summed up by the advice he gave in his ORSA Presidential address in 1962 as follows. "First, cooperate liberally with all specialists who can contribute to the realization of new O.R. potentials, whether or not they work currently under the O.R. banner; and second, concentrate upon problem areas that are not only truly worthwhile, but that are also feasible in terms of research support and technological timeliness."

BA, Nebraska; PhD, 1935, Princeton

Merrill M. Flood's Awards