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Elected in 1985

“For the design and development of simulation languages and network techniques and their applications in improving industrial productivity.”


SOMETIME IN THE EARLY 1960s, I heard from a young professor at Arizona State University (ASU) about a not very sophisticated article I had written on congestion theory and materials handling. Alan Pritsker, my correspondent, had just begun work on the modeling of queuing networks and wanted to share ideas. I, of course, was happy to comply. Thus began an association I treasured for nearly 40 years. When I heard of his untimely death on August 24, 2000, at the age of 67, I was shocked.

A. Alan B. Pritsker was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on February 5, 1933, and lived there until he left for college. He attended Central High School, where he starred in basketball and soccer and received the school’s student-athlete award in 1950. He entered Columbia University as a student-athlete until, as he said, he grew weary of sitting on the bench and decided to become exclusively a student. He received his B.S. in electrical engineering in 1955 and his M.S. in industrial engineering in 1956, both from Columbia. After graduation, he was hired at Battelle Memorial Institute (now Battelle Institute) in Columbus, Ohio; at the same time, he started a part-time Ph.D. program at Ohio State University under Jack Mitten. In 1961, he graduated with a Ph.D. in industrial engineering and operations research. His dissertation was titled “The Optimal Control of Discrete Stochastic Processes.”

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