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Ward Whitt (born 1942) is an American professor of operations research and management sciences. He is the Wai T. Chang Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at Columbia University. His research focuses on queueing theory, performance analysis, stochastic models of telecommunication systems, and numerical transform inversion. He is recognized for his contributions to the understanding and analyses of complex queues and queuing networks, which led to advances in the telecommunications system.[3] As of November 2, 2015, his publications have been cited over 25,000 times, and he has an h-index of 82.[4]

Ward Whitt
Born 1942 (age 75–76)[1]
Bozeman, Montana
Residence United States
Nationality United States
Alma mater Dartmouth College
Cornell University
Known for Queueing theory
Awards John von Neumann Theory Prize (2001)
Frederick W. Lanchester Prize (2003)
National Academy of Engineering
Scientific career
Fields operations research
Institutions Columbia University
Yale University
Stanford University
Thesis Weak Convergence Theorems for Queues in Heavy Traffic[2] (1969)
Doctoral advisor Donald Lee Iglehart



Whitt was born in Bozeman, Montana. He received a BA in Mathematics from Dartmouth and a PhD in operations research from Cornell (1969).[5] His doctoral thesis, Weak Convergence Theorems for Queues in Heavy Traffic, paved the path for his future research. Whitt joined the operations research faculty at Stanford before moving to Yale in 1969. From 1977–2002, he worked in Bell Labs and then AT&T Labs. Since 2002, he has been a full professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR) at Columbia.[6]


Whitt received numerous accolades for his seminal contributions to operations research. He holds a number of telecommunications-related patents.[7] He has been on the editorial boards of major management science journals including Operations Research. He is a member of Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) and Institute of Mathematical Statistics. He has also been a member and committee chair in the National Academy of Engineering. From 1999 to 2001, Whitt has been on the INFORMS prize committee.[8]



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