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Ronald Howard

Ronald Howard

ScD, MIT (1958)

Ronald A. Howard has been Professor in the Department of Engineering-Economic Systems (now the Department of Management Science and Engineering) in the School of Engineering of Stanford University since 1965. Professor Howard is one of the founders of the decision analysis discipline. His books on probabilistic modeling, decision analysis, dynamic programming, and Markov processes serve as major references for courses and research in these fields.

Professor Howard directs teaching and research in the Decision Analysis Program of the Department of Management Science and Engineering. He also is the Director of the Decisions and Ethics Center, which examines the efficacy and ethics of social arrangements. Professor Howard defined the profession of decision analysis in 1964 and has since supervised several doctoral theses in decision analysis every year. His experience includes dozens of decision analysis projects that range over virtually all fields of application, from investment planning to research strategy, and from hurricane seeding to nuclear waste isolation. He has been a consultant to several companies and was a founding Director and Chairman of Strategic Decisions Group. He is President of the Decision Education Foundation, which he and colleagues founded to teach decision skills to young people.

He has written four books, dozens of technical papers, and provided editorial service to seven technical journals. He was founding Editor of the Journal of the Society for Scientific Exploration. He has lectured in decision analysis at universities in several foreign countries, including the former Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. His national society affiliations have included the Operations Research Society of America; the Operational Research Society (U. K.); the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (Fellow); the Institute of Management Science, which he served as President, and INFORMS, The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, (Fellow). Current research interests are improving the quality of decisions, life-and-death decision making, and the creation of a coercion-free society.

In 1986 he received the Operations Research Society of America's Frank P. Ramsey Medal "for Distinguished Contributions in Decision Analysis. In 1998 he received from INFORMS the first award for the Teaching of Operations Research/Management Science Practice. In 1999, this organization invited him to give the Omega Rho Distinguished Plenary Lecture at the Cincinnati National Meeting. In the same year, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and received the Dean's Award for Academic Excellence.

Professor Howard earned his Sc.D. in Electrical Engineering from MIT in 1958. He was Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, Associate Professor of Industrial Management, and Associate Director of the Operations Research Center at MIT when he joined the Stanford faculty as Professor in 1965.