Dr. András Prékopa, mathematician, operations researcher, member of the Hungarian Academyof Sciences (“MTA”), passed away on September 18, 2016, at the age of 87, surrounded by hisfamily.
András Prékopa was born on September 11, 1929, in Nyiregyháza, Hungary. He graduatedfrom Kossuth Lajos High School in 1947 and obtained a Master of Sciences degree inmathematics, physics, and descriptive geometry in 1952 from the University of Debrecen. Hedefended his Ph.D. in 1956, for which he obtained a Grünwald Géza prize from the János BolyaiMathematical Society. He defended his higher doctorate in 1971. Between 1956 and 1968, hewas a professor of Eötvös Loránd University (“ELTE”) and subsequently became a professor ofthe Budapest Technical University. Between 1985 and 2015 he was a Distinguished Professorof operations research and statistics at RUTCOR, Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NewJersey. He was affiliated with the Department of Management Science and InformationSystems. Prékopa retired from Rutgers in 2015.
In addition to his university responsibilities, between 1970 and 1985 he was also the head of theOperations Research Department of the MTA’s Computer Science Center and subsequentlybecame the founder and head of the Applied Mathematics Division of the Computer Scienceand Automation Research Institute of the MTA. In 1979 the MTA awarded him correspondingmembership, which was followed by full membership in 1985. In 1983, he founded theOperations Research Department at ELTE and became its first chairman. In 1977, the MexicanAcademy of Sciences awarded him corresponding membership; in 1991 he founded andbecame the honorary president of the Hungarian Operations Research Society; and in 1996, theJános Bolyai Mathematical Society awarded him honorary presidency. He was the foundingeditor-in-chief of the Applied Mathematics Journal. Between 1981 and 1989, he was thepresident of the Mathematical Programming Society’s Stochastic Programming Committee.His scientific work was characterized by the high level unification of theory and application.Some excellent examples of this are the applications and implementations of his models andprocedures in the areas of hydrology, electric power production, economics, finance, andbiology, among others. Fifty eight scientists obtained advanced degrees under AndrásPrékopa’s guidance, among them 16 at RUTCOR, Rutgers University.
In 1992, the János Bolyai Mathematical Society awarded him a Szele Tibor prize, in 1996 hereceived a Széchényi prize, in 2002 he received the grand prize of the Arany János Foundation,and in 2003 the Association of the European Operations Research Societies awarded him agold medal. In 2005, he received a Merit Cross award from the Republic of Hungary, in 2012 hereceived a Khachiyan prize, and in 2014 he was awarded the President’s Prize by theINFORMS Society.
During his scientific career, he published 20 books, several hundred scientific papers, and 150educational and popular scientific articles. His most important books are Probability Theory,Linear Programming, Stochastic Programming Models and their Applications, and the recentlypublished Scheduling of Power Generation.
With his departure, the operations research community lost an outstanding scholar, an excellentteacher of operations research and applied mathematics, as well as a scientific event organizerwith extraordinary abilities and energies.