Bio


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.

Academic Appointments


  • Professor, Management Science and Engineering
  • Professor (By courtesy), Operations, Information & Technology

Honors & Awards


  • Dean's Award for Academic Excellence, Stanford University (2013)
  • Fellow, Society of Decision Professionals (2013)
  • Award for the Teaching of Operations Research/Management Science Practice, INFORMS (2013)
  • Frank P. Ramsey Medal, Decison Analysis Society (2013)
  • Fellow, INFORMS (2013)
  • Fellow, IEEE (2013)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Member, Omega Rho (2013 - Present)
  • Member, National Academy of Engineering (2013 - Present)

Professional Education


  • ScD, MIT (1958)

Journal Articles


  • Teaching Decision Skills to Troubled Teens ORMS Today Abbas, A., Hoffmann, N., Howard, Ronald, A., Spetzler, C. 2007; 4 (34)
  • Comment on Influence Diagram Retrospective Decision Analysis Howard, Ronald, A., Matheson, James, E., Merkhofer, Miley, W. (Lee), Merkhofer, Allen, C. 2006; 3 (2): 117-119
  • Influence Diagram Retrospective Decision Analysis Howard, Ronald, A., Matheson, James, E. 2005; 2 (3): 144-147
  • Influence Diagrams Decision Analysis Howard, Ronald, A., Matheson, James, E. 2005; 2 (3): 127-143
  • Attribute Dominance Utility Decision Analysis Abbas, Ali, E., Howard, Ronald, A. 2005; 2 (4): 185-206
  • Speaking of Decisions: Precise Decision Language Decision Analysis Howard, Ronald, A. 2004; 1 (2): 71-78
  • Decision Analysis and Law Cardozo Law Review Howard, Ronald, A. 2001; 22 (5-6): 1595-1603
  • Business Ethics: Tell the Truth Journal of Management Development Howard, Ronald, A. 1992; 11 (4): 4-10
  • Microrisks for Medical Decision Analysis International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care Howard, Ronald, A. 1989; 5 (3): 357-370
  • The Evolution of Decision Analysis READINGS on the Principles and Applications of Decision Analysis Howard, Ronald, A. 1984: 7-16
  • An Assessment of Decision Analysis Special Issue on Decision Analysis, Operations Research Howard, Ronald, A. 1980; 28 (1): 4-27
  • Influence Diagrams Private Report Howard, Ronald, A. 1980
  • Life and Death Decision Analysis Research Report EES DA-79-2, Department of Engineering-Economic Systems, Stanford University Howard, Ronald, A. 1979
  • The Decision to Seed Hurricanes Science Howard, Ronald, A., Matheson, James, E. 1972; 176 (4040): 1191-1201
  • Decision Analysis: Perspectives on Inference, Decision and Experimentation IEEE Special Issue, Detection Theory and Applications Howard, Ronald, A. 1970: 632-643
  • Risk Preference Private Report Howard, Ronald, A. 1968
  • The Practicality Gap Management Science Howard, Ronald, A. 1968; 14 (7): 503-507
  • The Foundations of Decision Analysis IEEE Transactions on Systems, Science and Cybernetics Howard, Ronald, A. 1968; SSC-4 (3): 211-219
  • Power of Pricing Mechanisms Management Science, "Free for All" Section Howard, Ronald, A. 1967; 13 (10)
  • Value of Information Lotteries IEEE Transactions on Systems, Science and Cybernetics Howard, Ronald, A. 1967; SSC-3 (1): 54-60
  • Dynamic Programming Management Science Howard, Ronald, A. 1966; 12 (5): 317-348
  • Information Value Theory IEEE Transactions on Systems, Science and Cybernetics Howard, Ronald, A. 1966; SSC-2 (1): 22-26
  • Bayesian Decision Models for Systems Engineering IEEE Transactions on Systems, Science and Cybernetics Howard, Ronald, A. 1965; SSC-1 (1)
  • Dynamic Inference Journal of the Operations Research Society of America Howard, Ronald, A. 1965; 13 (5): 712- 733
  • Research in Semi-Markovian Decision Structures Journal of the Operations Research Society of Japan Howard, Ronald, A. 1964; 6: 169-199
  • Systems Analysis of Semi-Markov Processes Transactions IEEE Prof. Group on Mil. Elec Howard, Ronald, A. 1964; MIL-8 (2): 114-124
  • The Science of Decision Making Private Report Howard, Ronald, A. 1964
  • Probabilistic Consumer Models Technical Report Howard, Ronald, A., Little, Arthur, D. 1964
  • On Methods: Stochastic Process Models of Consumer Behavior Journal of Advertising Research Howard, Ronald, A. 1963; 3 (3): 35-42
  • Lineargraph (Flowgraph) and Its Applications Keiei Kagaku Howard, Ronald, A., Kagaku, K. 1962; 6: 45-53
  • Mathematical Programming in Systems Engineering IRE Transactions on Education Howard, Ronald, A. 1962; E-5: 78-81
  • The Used Car Buyer Private Report Howard, Ronald, A. 1962
  • Brand Switching-Key to Marketing Decisions Technical Report Howard, Ronald, A., Herniter, J., D., Little, Arthur, D. 1961

Books and Book Chapters


  • Ethics for the Real World: Creating a Personal Code to Guide Decisions in Work and Life Howard, Ronald, A., Korver, Clinton, D. Harvard Business School Press, Boston. 2008
  • Dynamic Probabilistic Systems, Markov Models Howard, Ronald, A. Dover Publications. 2007
  • Dynamic Probabilistic Systems, Semi-Markov and Decision Processes Howard, Ronald, A. Dover Publications. 2007
  • The Foundations of Decision Analysis Revisited Advances in Decision Analysis: From Foundations to Applications Howard, Ronald, A. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2007: 1
  • Decisions in the Face of Uncertainty Visions of Risk. Howard, Ronald, A. edited by Alexander, C. London: Pearson Education Limited. 2000: 1
  • Life and Death Decisions for Individuals and Couples in Decision Science and Technology: Reflections on the Contributions of Ward Edwards. Howard, Ronald, A. edited by Shanteau, J., Mellers, B., Schum, D. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 1999: 1
  • Options Wise Choices: Decisions ,Games and Negotiations. Howard, Ronald, A. edited by Zeckhauser, J., Richard, Keeney, Ralph, L., Boston, James, K. Harvard Business School Press. 1996: 1
  • In Praise of the Old Time Religion Utility Theories: Measurements and Applications Howard, Ronald, A. edited by Edwards, W. Kluwer Academic Publishers. 1992: 27-55
  • From Influence to Relevance to Knowledge Influence Diagrams, Belief Nets and Decision Analysis Howard, Ronald, A. edited by Oliver, R., M., Smith, J., Q. John Wiley & Sons Ltd.. 1990: 3-23
  • READINGS on The Principles and Applications of Decision Analysis edited by Howard, Ronald, A., Matheson, James, E. Strategic Decisions Group, Menlo Park, California. 1984
  • The Risks of Benefit-Cost-Risk Analysis Risk/Benefit Analysis in Water Resources Planning and Management Howard, Ronald, A. edited by Haimes, Yacov, Y. Plenum Press. 1981: 1
  • On Making Life and Death Decisions Societal Risk Assessment, How Safe Is Safe Enough? Howard, Ronald, A. General Motors Research Laboratories, Plenum Press. 1980: 1
  • Comments on the Origin and Application of Markov Decision Processes Dynamic Programming and Its Applications Howard, Ronald, A. edited by Puterman, Martin, L. Academic Press, Inc.. 1978: 1
  • Baseball a la Russe Optimal Strategies in Sports Howard, Ronald, A. edited by Ladany, Shaul, P., Machol, Robert, E. North-Holland Publishings Co.. 1977: 89-93
  • Readings in decision analysis Howard, Ronald, A., Matheson, James, E., Miller, Katherine, L. Decision Analysis Group, Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park. 1976
  • Decision Analysis in Systems Engineering Systems Concepts: Lectures on Contemporary Approaches to Systems Howard, Ronald, A. Wiley-Interscience. 1973: 51-85
  • Dynamic Probabilistic Systems (two volumes) Howard, Ronald, A. John F. Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City. 1971
  • Stochastic Models of Consumer Behavior Applications of the Sciences in Marketing Management Howard, Ronald, A. edited by Bass, F. M., King, Charles, W., Pessemier, Edgar, A. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. 1968: 1
  • Dynamic Inference Decision Processes Recent Advances in Optimization Techniques Howard, Ronald, A. edited by Lavi, Vogl John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. 1966: 1
  • Probability Systems Engineering Handbook Howard, Ronald, A. edited by Machol McGraw-Hill. 1965: 1
  • Stochastic Marketing Models Progress in Operations Research Howard, Ronald, A., Herniter, J., D. edited by Hertz John F. Wiley & Sons. 1964: 33-96
  • Systems Analysis of Linear Models Multistage Inventory Models and Techniques Howard, Ronald, A. edited by Scarf, Shelley, Guilford Stanford University Press. 1963: 143-184
  • Commentary on "Industrial Dynamics" Management and the Computer of the Future Howard, Ronald, A. MIT Press and John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1962: 1
  • Dynamic Programming and Markov Processes Howard, Ronald, A. Technology Press-Wiley, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1960
  • Sequential Decision Processes Notes on Operations Research Howard, Ronald, A., Kimball, G., E. Technology Press. 1959: 1
  • Control Processes Notes on Operations Research Howard, Ronald, A. Technology Press. 1959: 1

Conference Proceedings


  • An Appreciation of Ed Jaynes Howard, Ronald, A. 2005
  • Decision Analysis for Forest Product Tactical and Strategic Decisions", Forest-to-Mill, Challenges of the Future Forberg, Richard, R. 1981
  • Alternatives to Federal Management of Public Lands Forberg, Richard, R., Howard, Ronald, A., Sauer, Gerald, L. 1980
  • The Value of Life and Nuclear Design Howard, Ronald, A., Matheson, James, E., Owen, Daniel, L. 1978
  • Life and Death Decision Analysis Howard, Ronald, A., Matheson, James, E., Owen, Daniel, L. 1978
  • Decision Analysis Howard, Ronald, A. 1970
  • Decision Analysis: Applied Decision Theory Howard, Ronald, A. 1966
  • Semi-Markovian Decision Processes Howard, Ronald, A. 1963
  • Prediction of Replacement Demand Howard, Ronald, A. 1963
  • Systems Control through Discrete Dynamic Programming Howard, Ronald, A. 1961