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Kurt Spielberg Passing

There is news from Monique Guignard, via a complicated path, that Kurt Spielberg has passed away, struck by a passing car outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Kurt did a lot of work on how to make integer programming and relaxation methods really work in practice.   This work started in the 60s and continued right to the present. I did not know Kurt, but I continually came across his work whenever I thought I had a good idea (particularly when I was working on lagrangian relaxations):  typically Kurt got there decades before I did.

Annals of Operations Research has recently published an article by Kurt on his 40+ years at IBM (my university subscribes, of course, but I did find a copy on the web).  It is a fascinating story!  Kurt was one (the last?) of the “old style” people in operations research who began in physics and simply started solving operations research problems.  What a career Kurt had! He retired from IBM in 1990, but continued to be active in consulting, contract work, and grant support for his remaining years The paper shows his enthusiasm for optimization remained clear to the end.

Viewing Wednesday evening 7 to 9pm and Thursday morning 9 to 10am in the Schetter Funeral Home 304 W. Rt. 70, Cherry Hill, NJ. Mass of Christian Burial Thursday 11am in St. Peter Celestine RC Church, Cherry Hill, NJ. Interment Colestown Cemetery Cherry Hill, NJ.

{ 3 } Comments

  1. Katie D'Agosta | February 24, 2009 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mike,

    Thank you for putting this on your website. I did know Kurt and have to say he was one of my favorite Guest Editors (also Monique!).

    He had so many wonderful and interesting stories to tell about his life, and always had time to chat. On top of that, he was kind and generous.

    I was sorry when his volume was finally finished.

    –Katie D’Agosta
    (Managing Editor, Annals of OR)

  2. Daniel Tetreault | February 25, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    I am sorry to hear of the passing of Kurt. Please accept my condolances, sincerely. He sounded special to everyone.

    Daniel – reader.

  3. Andres Weintraub | February 25, 2009 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    It is with great sadness we received the news of Kurt’s passing away. He was a great friend. Monique and Kurt had just visited us a month ago. Visits that were yearly, During all these visits we shared so many good moments with Kurt.
    He had a remarkable carreer at IBM, where he developed pioneering research and projects The way I remember him was always discussing new ideas, new interests.He and Monique recently edited a book on Integer Programming. I was invited to contribute a chapter, We had many exchanges with Kurt helping me improve the chapter.
    But I will probably remember most the long chats we had. His extraordinary stories, how he survived the war, how he managed to go on to a great career, his chess games. The shared interst in soccer. So many remembrances
    We will miss him enormeously.