Thomas E. Caywood

ORSA President, 1969

Thomas Caywood was the 18th President of ORSA. During World War II he worked at the Harvard System Research Laboratory on the Navy’s Combat Information Centers. After receiving his PhD, he joined the Institute for Air Weapons Research at the University of Chicago and later the Armour Research Foundation of IIT where he was Supervisor of Operations Research. For DOD he was a member of the Defense Science Board and chairman of the Advisory Panel on Ordinance. In 1953 he co-founded Caywood-Shiller Associates and served as Managing Partner. This firm, where he spent the next 25 years, was one of the first independent O.R. research firms consulting for both industry and the military. He was a consultant to the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Navy’s Operations Evaluation Group, and the National Bureau of Standards. After retirement he taught Operations Research as Professorial Lecturer at the University Of Chicago Graduate School Of Business and spent 15 winter quarters teaching at California State University-Hayward.

A specialist in probability and simulation, Caywood was involved in numerous computer based-based modeling efforts. The initial studies involved early computers such as the Bell Relay Computer, ORDVAC, and ENIAC. He formulated the first industrial application of linear programming which dealt with livestock feeds. He introduced the use of numerical scoring for the approval of applications for customer credit and the application of optimum effort techniques for the collection of delinquent accounts.

He was a founding member of ORSA, the third editor of Operations Research, and a Fellow of INFORMS. He received the Kimball Medal in 1974, the initial year that it was awarded, and the J. Steinhardt Prize. As President he was thrust into a central position in ORSA’s response to difficult issues of professional standards. He served as chairman of the ORSA Committee that developed the ORSA Guidelines in 1971. In that effort he was able to reconcile the many conflicting positions that existed.

Tom Caywood died in 2008 at age 89.

AB (Mathematics and Physics), 1939, Cornell College (Iowa); MA (Mathematics), 1940, Northwestern; PhD (Mathematics), 1947, Harvard

Thomas E. Caywood's Awards