INFORMS Open Forum

Dr. András Prékopa, 1929-2016

  • 1.  Dr. András Prékopa, 1929-2016

    Posted 09-27-2016 10:24

    Dr. András Prékopa, mathematician, operations researcher, member of the Hungarian Academy
    of Sciences (“MTA”), passed away on September 18, 2016, at the age of 87, surrounded by his

    András Prékopa was born on September 11, 1929, in Nyiregyháza, Hungary. He graduated
    from Kossuth Lajos High School in 1947 and obtained a Master of Sciences degree in
    mathematics, physics, and descriptive geometry in 1952 from the University of Debrecen. He
    defended his Ph.D. in 1956, for which he obtained a Grünwald Géza prize from the János Bolyai
    Mathematical Society. He defended his higher doctorate in 1971. Between 1956 and 1968, he
    was a professor of Eötvös Loránd University (“ELTE”) and subsequently became a professor of
    the Budapest Technical University. Between 1985 and 2015 he was a Distinguished Professor
    of operations research and statistics at RUTCOR, Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New
    Jersey. He was affiliated with the Department of Management Science and Information
    Systems. Prékopa retired from Rutgers in 2015.

    In addition to his university responsibilities, between 1970 and 1985 he was also the head of the
    Operations Research Department of the MTA’s Computer Science Center and subsequently
    became the founder and head of the Applied Mathematics Division of the Computer Science
    and Automation Research Institute of the MTA. In 1979 the MTA awarded him corresponding
    membership, which was followed by full membership in 1985. In 1983, he founded the
    Operations Research Department at ELTE and became its first chairman. In 1977, the Mexican
    Academy of Sciences awarded him corresponding membership; in 1991 he founded and
    became the honorary president of the Hungarian Operations Research Society; and in 1996, the
    János Bolyai Mathematical Society awarded him honorary presidency. He was the founding
    editor-in-chief of the Applied Mathematics Journal. Between 1981 and 1989, he was the
    president 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 and
    procedures in the areas of hydrology, electric power production, economics, finance, and
    biology, among others. Fifty eight scientists obtained advanced degrees under András
    Prékopa’s guidance, among them 16 at RUTCOR, Rutgers University.

    In 1992, the János Bolyai Mathematical Society awarded him a Szele Tibor prize, in 1996 he
    received 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 a
    gold medal. In 2005, he received a Merit Cross award from the Republic of Hungary, in 2012 he
    received a Khachiyan prize, and in 2014 he was awarded the President’s Prize by the
    INFORMS Society.

    During his scientific career, he published 20 books, several hundred scientific papers, and 150
    educational and popular scientific articles. His most important books are Probability Theory,
    Linear Programming, Stochastic Programming Models and their Applications, and the recently
    published Scheduling of Power Generation.

    With his departure, the operations research community lost an outstanding scholar, an excellent
    teacher of operations research and applied mathematics, as well as a scientific event organizer
    with extraordinary abilities and energies.

    Jonathan Eckstein
    Rutgers University
    Piscataway NJ