INFORMS Open Forum

The evolution of the classic Hillier-Lieberman textbook

  • 1.  The evolution of the classic Hillier-Lieberman textbook

    Posted 03-31-2020 18:02

         I was still a very young assistant professor when I began work on our new Introduction to Operations Research textbook.  I was most fortunate to have the eminent Gerald J. Lieberman (who had been my advisor throughout my undergraduate and graduate days) as my co-author.  The first edition was published in 1967 when the field was still relatively young.  The field must have been waiting for such a textbook because, to our surprise, it immediately dominated the market.  As the years went by, along with occasional new editions, the book was translated into over 15 other languages and was used by many hundreds of thousands of students  around the world.  Even today, 53 years later, it continues to be the most widely used introductory OR textbook outside of business schools.

         Very sadly, Jerry Lieberman contracted ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) shortly before the mid-1990's and this terrible progressive illness led to his death in 1999.  Because of the great impact that our textbook had been having on the field, I knew that I had to find a way to keep it going.  Therefore, I resolved that I would pick up the torch and devote myself fully to subsequent editions of this book (along with finishing a new textbook aimed at business students that now is in its 6th edition), maintaining a standard that would fully honor Jerry.  To make this feasible, I took early retirement from my faculty responsibilities at Stanford in order to work full time on textbook writing for the foreseeable future.  This has enabled me to spend far more than the usual amount of time in preparing each new edition.  It also has enabled me to closely monitor new trends and developments in the field in order to bring each new edition completely up to date.  This approach led to the publication of the highly praised 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th editions.  (Along the way, I was awarded the INFORMS Expository Writing Award for the 8th edition and then the 2017 INFORMS Kimball Medal largely for these editions.)

         I now am delighted to announce that the 11th edition has just been published by McGraw-Hill.  Once again, this new edition has been thoroughly updated after extensively researching new developments, including soliciting advice from experts.  New material includes several sections on analytics and its close relationship to OR.  New sections also have been added on such topics as trends in OR, multiple criteria decision analysis (including goal programming), behavioral queueing theory, Markov decision processes in practice, and simulation optimization.  Along with numerous other smaller updates, several portions of the mathematical programming material have been reorganized to increase clarity. 

         I am getting older, so I find that I need more time now to develop a new edition to my high standard.  For the 11th edition, I was working long hours seven days a week for nearly two years.  It was tiring, but it also was a labor of love on behalf of our field.

         If you get an opportunity to use it, I hope you will enjoy this new edition.

    Fred Hillier
    Professor of Operations Research, Emeritus
    Stanford University

  • 2.  RE: The evolution of the classic Hillier-Lieberman textbook

    Posted 04-01-2020 11:54
    Congratulations on the new edition. It's great to hear some background about this book. Being a learner in MDP and Queuing, I will definitely look at the portions of those areas. All the best.

    Gaurav Sharma
    Arizona State University
    Tempe AZ

  • 3.  RE: The evolution of the classic Hillier-Lieberman textbook

    Posted 04-02-2020 20:41

    I haven't had the privilege of meeting you in person, but I do have a printing of the 1967 edition of that textbook, complete with dust jacket cover. Here you are 53 years ago! Well done on a lifetime of achievement helping several generations learn the fundamentals of Operations Research.

    Warren E. Hearnes, PhD
    SVP, Analytics & Data Science at Cardlytics
    Atlanta GA

  • 4.  RE: The evolution of the classic Hillier-Lieberman textbook

    Posted 04-02-2020 21:11
    Warren:  Thank you for sharing this dust jacket cover and photograph from the 1967 first edition of this textbook.  If you could see me now, this photograph vividly demonstrates how much both I and the book have evolved over the next 53 years!

    Fred Hillier

    Frederick Hillier
    Professor of OR, Emeritus
    Stanford University (Emeritus)
    Redmond WA