Warren E. Walker

Warren E. Walker

Past Awards

INFORMS President's Award: Awardee(s)

Dr. Warren E. Walker has delivered a professional lifetime's worth of important contributions to the welfare of society through quantitative analysis of governmental policy problems. Moreover, he has consistently shared his analyses and methods by means of open publication.

His early work between 1969 and 1975 at the New York City-RAND Institute dramatically improved that city's urban emergency service systems. This work demonstrated that the tools of operations research and the management sciences and the technical rigor of the scientific method could be applied to "messy" socio-political problems. It was expounded in a co-authored book and recognized by the 1974 Lanchester Prize and a 1976 NATO Systems Science Prize.

His work between 1977 and 1992 at RAND's headquarters focused on cost-effective water management policies for the Netherlands and a decision support system for managing the U.S. Air Force's enlisted personnel. The former work, leading to a new national water policy approved in 1984 by the Dutch Parliament, received the 1984 Franz Edelman Award. The latter work was a massive effort that culminated in an organizational decision support system that since 1990 has been the chief analytical tool for major policy and programming decisions affecting the enlisted force. His co-authored book on this work abounds with lessons transferable to other organizational decision support systems.

Since 1992, he has been at RAND Europe, leading or contributing to policy analysis studies, primarily for the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works, and Water Management. His projects have included an analysis of strategies for improving the safety of river dikes while preserving their environmental benefits, a study aimed at abating the negative effects of freight traffic on roads, and a comprehensive policy analysis of the Dutch civil aviation system. All of this work is having a major impact at the highest levels of government.

He has endeavored to share his knowledge and expertise with new generations of policy analysts by teaching part-time at three academic institutions. During a 1988-89 sabbatic year at the Delft University of Technology, he helped create the plans and curriculum for a new faculty of Systems Engineering, Policy Analysis and Management. He has been an adjunct member of that faculty since its inception.

His voluntary professional services are many, and include eight years as Management Science's Department Editor for Public Sector Applications and five years as chairman of the Los Angeles Productivity Advisory Commission.

For this international body of high-impact work for the benefit of society, and for his well-rounded professional career, INFORMS takes pride in presenting its 1997 President's Award to Warren E. Walker.

Frederick W. Lanchester Prize: Winner(s)

ORSA's Lanchester Prize has been awarded to the paper, "An Algorithm for the Dynamic Relocation of Fire Companies," written by two Rand Corporation researchers, Peter Kolesar and Warren E. Walker. The paper, published in the March-April, 1974 issue of Operations Research (Volume 22, pages 249-274) was selected as "the best English-language published contribution to operations research" in 1974.

The Lanchester Prize Committee's citation was as follows:

  • "The prize winning Kolesar and Walker paper exemplifies an application of operations research to a new and important area, and introduces new methodology to the solution of the problem treated. The exposition is clear and succinct; the contribution of the paper is real and substantial. The methods developed in the paper have been applied in New York City, and can be applied in other cities as well.
  • "With becoming modesty, the authors describe how they observed the system in operation, how they conferred with the New York City Fire Department to learn what is meant by a good relocation, how they made their technical definitions operational, how they analyzed historical data, and how they designed an algorithm that can yield, at no extra cost, an improvement in the quality of fire protection.
  • "The paper provides an appropriate mathematical formulation of the relocation problem, presents a practical heuristic solution, and shows how the algorithm works in a real-time dynamic environment. The results are demonstrably better than existing procedures, and the new methods are easily put into use in connection with a management information and control system to be implemented by the New York City Fire Department.
  • "In summary, the Kolesar and Walker paper provides an O.R. approach that can help save lives and reduce property damage from fires by making it possible for fire companies to respond more rapidly to serious emergencies. "