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August 31, 2017

Obituary: Thomas L. Saaty

Thomas L. Saaty, Distinguished University Professor in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, died Aug. 14, 2017, at the age of 91.

“Tom was an exceptionally gifted researcher and prolific author, and for many years his brilliant mind illuminated the fields of complex decision making and operations research. As a researcher, as a teacher, and as a friend and colleague, he brought honor and prestige to the institution,” noted Arjang Assad, Henry E. Haller Jr. Dean of the Katz School and College of Business Administration, in a remembrance.

In his field of business analytics and operations, Saaty created new decision-making methods, the analytic hierarchy (AHP) and analytic network processes, that were subsequently applied to global issues outside the business world.

In 2008, Saaty was awarded the Impact Prize from INFORMS, the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences, in recognition of the influence his research on AHP has in the field.

He earned his bachelor’s degree at Columbia Union College (1948), and master’s degrees in physics at Catholic University of America (1949) and mathematics at Yale University (1951). He received his mathematics doctorate from Yale in 1953.

Saaty joined Pitt in 1979 following a decade on the faculty of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. His prior career also included posts with the U.S. Embassy in London, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and Office of Naval Research.

At Pitt, he was honored with the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award and the Katz School’s H.J. Zoffer Medal for Meritorious Service.

Saaty was the author of a dozen books, most recently “Principia Mathematica Decernendi: Mathematical Principles of Decision Making” in 2010. His research accumulated more than 97,000 citations and earned him numerous international awards, as well as membership in the National Academy of Engineering.

He is survived by his wife, Rozann; children Linda, Michael, Emily, John and Daniel; 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Plans for a memorial have not been announced.


Filed under: Feature,Volume 50 Issue 1

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