Ralph L. Keeney

Ralph L. Keeney

Past Awards

Decision Analysis Practice Award: Finalist
Winning material: A Multiattribute Decision Model to Evaluate Potential Investments in Near-Earth Object Detection Technologies

Decision Analysis Publication Award: First Place
2012 - First Place

INFORMS President's Award: Awardee(s)
Ralph L. Keeney

The 2009 INFORMS President's Award is awarded to Ralph L. Keeney for his substantial contributions to methods for analyzing complex decisions faced by government and society, and for promoting value-focused decision making by individuals and businesses.

Professor Keeney is both a distinguished researcher and a master practitioner of decision and risk analysis. His numerous books and publications constitute foundational contributions to the theory, methods, and practice of using models to support decision making in the face of multiple conflicting objectives. Over a long career spent moving between academia and consulting, he has analyzed complex decisions arising in environmental studies, energy policy, the siting of large scale facilities such as airports and power plants, and a wide range of problems involving life-threatening risks. He has also pioneered methods for systematically incorporating personal and social values into the analysis of decisions faced by individuals, businesses, and governments.

The INFORMS President's Award is made for contributions to the welfare of society. Leading by example, Ralph has inspired many others to adopt his thoughtful, reflective approach for guiding decision makers towards smarter, more rational choices. If you are faced with a truly difficult decision involving high stakes, risk, and conflicting objectives, whether in your personal life or at the highest levels of business or government, you want someone like Ralph to help you think it through. I am therefore pleased to present the 2009 INFORMS' President's Award to Ralph L. Keeney, Research Professor of Decision Sciences at the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University.

Saul Gass Expository Writing Award: Winner(s)

The 2002 INFORMS Expository Writing Award is presented to Ralph Keeney and Howard Raiffa for their publications in operations research and the management sciences that have set an exemplary standard of exposition.

Beginning with the publication in 1976 of their book, Decisions with Multiple Objectives: Preferences and Value Tradeoffs, Keeney and Raiffa have played a crucial role in making decision science a recognized discipline within operations research and the management sciences. Their concerns have spanned the field of decision science, covering approaches for identifying alternatives as well as methods for making a choice between alternatives. Their expository writing has been impressively clear and well organized, with a style that is inviting and well suited to communicating the concepts and techniques of decision science to a wider audience than the usual one consisting of specialists reading journal articles. This commitment is particularly evident in their 1998 book (joint with John Hammond), Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions. At a time when INFORMS is focusing on educating the general public on the power of scientifically grounded decision making, it is particularly appropriate that the INFORMS Award for Expository Writing should recognize Keeney and Raiffa for their significant contributions to this goal over the past three decades.

INFORMS Elected Fellows: Awardee(s)

Decision Analysis Publication Award: First Place
Winning material: Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions, Harvard Business School Publishing, 1999.

Decision Analysis Publication Award: First Place
Winning material: Value Focused Thinking , Harvard University Press, 1992.

Philip McCord Morse Lectureship Award: Winner(s)

Frank P. Ramsey Medal: Awardee(s)

Frederick W. Lanchester Prize: Winner(s)

Two books have been awarded ORSA's 1976 Lanchester Prize —

Ralph Disney, Chairman of the 1976 Lanchester Prize Committee, stated that ". . .Both books portray the balance of theory and application expected of exemplary operations research. Both books address problems of significance. Both books lay a foundation that future operations researchers will build upon and use for many years. Both books share with the reader not only the theory of what is being done but also the experience, intuition, good judgment, trials and tribulation requisite to successful implementation." The two prize citations are as follows:

Keeney, Ralph L. and Raiffa, Howard, Decisions with Multiple Objectives: Preference and Value Trade-Offs, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 1976.

This book makes a major step forward in both the theory and application of decision theory. It will undoubtedly serve as the basic text in the subject for many years and will be the mine of future research in the area as well as providing the tools, knowledge, insight and know-how for successful application. Not only does the book open new areas of theory for operations research, it also shows that such a theory is useful through its numerous examples and its long and careful discussion of one major application. There can be no doubt that this book is a major contribution to the advancement of the state of the art of operations research.

The basic ideas of utility theory have a long history in micro-economic theory. The truly creative ideas of this book are to make this concept useful. This the authors do with great skill and authority. The first part of the book carefully, and rigorously brings utility theory from a concept to a useful tool. Applications of the tool thus developed illustrate the wisdom of the development. In the words of one of the committee members, "(this) is one of the most exquisitely well-written books I have ever encountered." The entire committee was impressed with the level of exposition of the book and the ability of the authors to present quite large, complex problems succinctly yet with clarity and precision.