Peter C. Fishburn

Peter C. Fishburn

Past Awards

INFORMS Elected Fellows: Awardee(s)

John von Neumann Theory Prize: Winner(s)

The von Neumann Theory Prize for contributions to the theory of operations research and management science has been awarded by INFORMS to Peter C. Fishburn for his contributions to the foundations of choice under certainty, including axiomizations of utilities, subjective probabilities and ordered sets, and to related theories of voting and social choice.

Fishburn has published several books, including "The Foundations of Expected Utility" (1982), and "Nonlinear Preference and Utility Theory" (1988). Through numerous articles he has made contributions to: axiomatic foundations of linear preference and utility theory, including choice under risk and uncertainty, plus axiomatic investigations on subjective probability; the theory of measurements; multiattribute preference/utility theory; stochastic dominance and risk analysis; and axiomatic development of far-reaching, nonlinear preference/utility theories under risk and uncertainty, including multiattribute and stochastic-dominance studies of the same.

He has also developed basic axiomizations for general probability measures for partially ordered preferences and for conditional expectations, as well as finite-dimensional lexicographic utility. Fishburn's early work on multiattribute utility theory is particularly noteworthy in that his first axiomization for additive expected utility theory opened up the entire area of multiattribute expected utility and led to extensive development by others.

Fishburn's earliest work on partially ordered probabilities in decision analysis have significantly influenced later work in this area. Although stochastic dominance has old roots in mathematics and statistics, Fishburn's interest helped to make the topic move widely known in operations research and economics. And, his theoretical papers greatly extend the notion of stochastic dominance and revealed close ties between dominance and moments of probability distributions.

He has played a leading role over the last decade in developing generalized theories of choice under uncertainty. For example, he has shown that weighted-linear utility is an intermediate (transitive but nonlinear) stage on the road from von Neumann-Morgenstern (transitive, linear) to SSB (non-T and non-L) utility and has established multiattribute decomposition, its properties in dominance analysis and that states-additive, or expected, SSB preferences can yield concrete solutions to actual decision problems modeled in customary ways.

Fishburn has also made significant contributions to group decision making, including decisions based on voting processes. These contributions are most evident in his books "The Theory of Social Choice" (1973) and "Interprofile Conditions and Impossibility" (1987), as well as the numerous articles on social choice functions, majority choice, representative majorities, Condorcet's phenomenon of cyclical majorities, and Arrow impossibility theorems.

In his extensive research and writings, Fishburn has worked with many other leaders in operations research and management sciences, and has helped many young scholars and students.

Decision Analysis Publication Award: First Place
Winning material: "Choice Under Uncertainty," Annals of Operations Research Vol. 19, 1989.

Frank P. Ramsey Medal: Awardee(s)

Frederick W. Lanchester Prize: Honorable Mention

The Prize was not awarded, but five authors received honorable mentions. The report of the Lanchester Prize Committee is as follows:

"The Lanchester Prize Committee for 1970 has given careful consideration to the excellent books and papers published during 1970 and nominated for the prize. The Committee has concluded that none of the nominated works were sufficiently meritorious in enough of the criteria considered in determining prize-worthiness to warrant being awarded the 1970 Lanchester Prize. Accordingly the Committee has recommended that the prize not be awarded, and the Council has accepted its recommendation.

"However, the Committee has recommended that Honorable Mentions be awarded to the authors of four works, each of which excelled in specific aspects considered in judging prize worthiness. The works and their authors are as follows:

  • Time Series Analysis Forecasting and Control, by George E. P. Box and Gwilym M. Jenkins, Holden-Day, Inc.
  • Utility Theory for Decision Making, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., by Peter C. Fishburn
  • Optimization Theory for Large Systems, The Macmillan Company, by Leon S. Lasdon
  • Managerial and Engineering Economics, Allyn and Bacon, Inc., by Arnold Reisman

"The Box and Jenkins book, Time Series Analysis Forecasting and Control, the Lasdon book, Optimization Theory for Large Systems, and the Reisman book, Managerial and Engineering Economics, are each fine examples of works which present a unification of an important technique required in many operations research studies.

"The Fishburn book, Utility Theory for Decision Making, makes an excellent contribution to the advancement of knowledge of a concept at the heart of many complex socio-technological problems."