Egon Balas

Egon Balas

Past Awards

INFORMS Elected Fellows: Awardee(s)

John von Neumann Theory Prize: Winner(s)

In recognition of his fundamental contributions to integer programming, Egon Balas was awarded the 1995 John von Neumann Theory Prize.

The award was presented by Tom Magnanti, chair of the von Neumann Award Committee, at the awards luncheon held during the spring meeting of INFORMS in Los Angeles. During his presentation of the award, Magnanti said, It seems that wherever the field of integer programming has turned for the last forty years, Egon Balas has provided intellectual leadership.

Beginning his career at the Institute of Economic Science and Planning in Bucharest, Romania, working on issues of economic growth, Balas began to examine various aspects of the classical transportation problem and issues in integer programming with zero-one variables. Although he continued to consider economic issues after immigrating to the United States in 1967, he soon began to devote most of his attention to the then incipient field of integer programming. He has been at the forefront of almost all the major developments in this field.

Balas is noted for his classical 1965 paper, "An Additive Algorithm for Solving Linear Problems with Zero-one Variables," which established branch-and-bound as a simple and powerful solution method. He has also been a pioneer in studying the facial structure of integer polytopes of NP-hard combinatorial problems, and in developing and analyzing heuristic methods for difficult discrete optimization problems.

In addition to his seminal theoretical contributions, Balas has, through his research and consulting, contributed significantly to crew scheduling, electric power, finance, machine scheduling, the steel industry, telecommunications and wood planning, Magnanti added.