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Ralph Gomory

Ralph Gomory

Joined Stern 2008

Leonard N. Stern School of Business
Kaufman Management Center
44 West Fourth Street, 8-67
New York, NY 10012

E-mail rgomory@stern.nyu.edu
Personal website


Ralph Gomory joined New York University Stern School of Business as a Research Professor in April 2008.

Professor Gomory's current research interests include studies of the nature of technology and product development, and models of international trade that include changing national capabilities and economies of scale. He has written extensively about the nature and goals of the modern corporation and the impact of the direction of today’s corporations on the national and international economy and on the problem of inequality. His book Global Trade and Conflicting National Interests with NYU Stern Professor William Baumol raised important questions about the nature of international trade in a world of changing industrial capabilities. He also continues his long term contributions to the mathematics of Operations Research.

Prior to joining NYU, Gomory was for 18 years President of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. During that period the foundation sponsored research on many national issues. The foundation’s pioneering work in the field of online learning started in 1991 predating the public Internet and by 1908 led to more than six million people annually taking online courses for credit and paying tuition. The foundation also started the now-widespread program of industry studies, and launched a major program advocating a more flexible workplace that better matches the needs of today’s workforce. The foundation was early in perceiving the threat of bioterrorism and was already active in that area for several years before the events of 9/11. The foundation supported the widely recognized Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which has made major contributions to the problem of dark energy and to the use of shared data in Astronomy. The foundation sponsored a major successful worldwide survey of life in the oceans known as the Census of Marine Life. The foundation also supported the successful development of the now widespread graduate degree, the Professional Science Masters, designed to allow students to pursue advanced training in science or mathematics while simultaneously developing workplace skills valued by employers. It also launched a program raising questions about the current role of the corporation that gave early support to researchers in that area.

During the thirty years 1959-1989 Gomory worked at IBM. There, while continuing his significant mathematical work, he helped to establish that company as a major research institution. In 1970 he became Director of Research with line responsibility for IBM’s Research Division. He continued in a leadership role for the next 20 years eventually becoming IBM Senior Vice President for Science and Technology.

During his tenure the Research Division made fundamental contributions to advanced technology such as the scaling theory for MOSFETS that guided the development of these key memory devices throughout the industry, high-density storage devices, advanced silicon processing methods and the invention of the relational database and the RISC computer architecture. His researchers also won two successive Nobel Prizes in Physics and it was there that Benoit Mandelbrot invented the now widely accepted concept of Fractals.

Professor Gomory has contributed widely to the mathematical fields of linear and integer programming, his cutting plane algorithm is a major element in the field of integer programming and his mathematical research in various areas of Operational Research has been recognized by the Lanchester Prize of the Operations Research Society, the Harry Goode Memorial Award of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, and the John von Neumann Theory Prize of INFORMS. He is also a fellow of the Econometric Society.

Professor Gomory is a member of the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has been a trustee of Princeton University and served on the Council of Advisors on Science and Technology of three U.S. Presidents. He is currently a member of the National Research Council Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP).

Professor Gomory has been awarded eight honorary degrees and many prizes including the National Medal of Science. The Arthur M. Bueche Award of the National Academy of Engineering, the Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment, the Madison Medal of Princeton University, the Sheffield Fellowship Award of the Yale University Faculty of Engineering, the Harold Larnder Prize of the Canadian Operational Research Society, and is a member of the International Federation of Operational Research Societies’ Hall of Fame.

Gomory has been a director of several Fortune 500 companies including the Washington Post Company and the Bank of New York, and was named one of America's ten best directors by Director's Alert magazine in 2000.

Gomory graduated from Williams College in 1950, studied at Cambridge University and received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Princeton University in 1954. During this period he wrote several papers, later published, on non-linear differential equations. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1954 to 1957. He returned to Princeton in 1967 as Higgins Lecturer and then as assistant professor. During this period he published the cutting plane algorithm that became a major element in the field of integer programming. He joined IBM Research in 1959.

Research Interests

  • The nature of technology and product development
  • Corporate goals and their impact on society.
  • Models of international trade that include technological change and economies of scale
  • The mathematics of Operations Research

Academic Background

Ph.D., Mathematics, 1954
Princeton University

B.A., 1950
Williams College

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