University of Cambridge > Mathematics > Statistical Laboratory > Richard Weber > Bio 

Richard Robert Weber

Richard Weber retired in 2017, having been Churchill Professor of Mathematics for Operational Research (1994-2017). He is a Fellow of Queens' College. He started at Cambridge as a mathematics undergraduate in 1971, proceeding subsequently to  Part III (Mayhew Prize), and a Ph.D. in the Engineering Department, where, under the supervision of Peter Nash, his dissertation was titled Multi-Server Stochastic Scheduling. It concerned some practical problems of reservoir management and coal mining, and established the optimality of the least-hazard rate policy for Lady's Nylon Stocking Problem (posed by D. R. Cox. in 1959), the optimal of join-shortest queue routing, and optimality of LEPT and SEPT for problems of minimizing expected makespan and flowtime when scheduling jobs of stochastic processing requirements on parallel processors.

His first jobs were as a Research Fellow at Queens' College (1977-78), and Assistant Lecturer in the C.U. Engineering Department (1978-94). He served in that department for 15 years, becoming Reader in Management Science, and was much involved in the founding days of the Cambridge Judge Business School. He came to the Statistical Laboratory in the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics in 1994 to succeed Peter Whittle as Churchill Professor. He has served in the Statistical Laboratory as Director 2000-2009 and at Queens' College he has been Tutor, Graduate Tutor, Director of Studies and Vice President (1995-2007).

His research interests, papers and books range over the fields of applied probabilitiy, optimization, statistics, economics, and computer science. He has written on problems in stochastic scheduling, Gittins index, queueing theory, large deviations, stochastic networks, optimization, rendezvous search games, micro economics of communications pricing, mechanism design, online bin packing, manufacturing systems, and stochastic dynamic programming.

He has served at various times on the editorial boards of Applied Probability, Operations Research, Mathematics of Operations Research, Management Science, Probability in the Engineering and Informational Sciences, and Naval Research Logistics. He has supervised ten Ph.D. students.

He has written 25 of his papers in collaboration with Costas Courcoubetis, who he met when in 1983 he was on sabbatical at EECS Berkeley. They have spent many happy and productive summer weeks together, for many years at AT&T Bell Laboratories, and then in Greece.

On the sum-of-squares algorithm for bin packing, (co-authored with J. Csirik, D. S. Johnson, C. Kenyon, J. B. Orlin) was awarded  the INFORMS Computing Society Prize for the best publication on the interface of Operations Research and Computer Science 2007.

He has an interest in magic and conjuring and, after once writing an exam question based on the game, he appeared on ITV's Who Wants to be a MIllionaire in October 2003.

Further dates are here.