GPSS Discussion led by Robert G. Sargent with Thomas J. Schriber, Julian Reitman, James O. Henriksen, and Richard E. Nance

This interview took place on the campus of the National Institute of Health (NIH).


Interview place: Bethesda, Maryland

Interview date: 2013-05-21

Richard E. Nance, Ph.D.

Richard E. Nance is Emeritus Professor of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. He received BSIE and M.S. degrees from N.C. State University in 1962 and 1966 respectively, and the Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1968. He has served on the faculties of Southern Methodist University and Virginia Tech, where he was Department Head of Computer Science, 1973-1979. Nance has held research appointments at the Naval Surface Weapons Center and at the Imperial College of Science and Technology (UK) as well as visiting appointments at Old Dominion University and Brunel University (UK). He was also appointed Visiting Distinguished Honors Professor for the spring semester 1997 at the University of Central Florida. Nance is the author of over 150 papers on discrete event simulation, performance modeling and evaluation, computer networks, and software engineering. He has held several editorial positions and was the founding Editor-in-Chief of the ACM Transactions on Modeling and Computer Simulation (TOMACS).

Nance has consulted for major private businesses and organizations, and his long-term research relationship with the U.S. Navy led to the establishment of the Systems Research Center at Virginia Tech in 1983. He was named to the John Adolphus Dahlgren Chair in Computer Science in 1988. He was instrumental in the development of the Simulation Archive at N.C. State and currently chairs the advisory committee. Nance has received several awards for his editorial and professional contributions, most recently the INFORMS Simulation Society Lifetime Professional Achievement Award in 2007. He was elected a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery in 1996 and a Fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) in 2008. In 2006 he was recognized by the faculty of the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering of N.C. State as one of the 12 Distinguished Alumni over the first 75 years of the department’s history.

Faculty page for Richard E. Nance, Ph.D., at Virginia Tech.

James O. Henriksen

James O. Henriksen is the founder and CEO of Wolverine Software Corporation, which he established in 1976. He is most noted for his development of GPSS/H for IBM mainframes in 1977, enabling the continuing support of a major simulation programming language. The first commercial installation of GPSS/H was made at General Motors Manufacturing Department, and in the following years the application was expanded and improved. Wolverine is known for its other software innovations, including Proof Animation, which was introduced in 1989, and SLX, the extensible simulation language, which is its most recent product.

Henriksen has long been active in the computer simulation field and has taught numerous graduate-level computer courses, including classes at the Virginia Tech Northern Virginia Center. His research and scholarly contributions have been presented at conferences, including the Winter Simulation Conference. His published works have appeared inseveral journals. His professional interests include the construction of compilers and run-time support for discrete-event simulation and animation. During his career he has helped to develop eight compilers and five generations of animation software. Henriksen was named a Titan of Simulation at the 2006 Winter Simulation Conference.

James Henriksen, founder andCEO of the Wolverine Software Corporation.

Julian Reitman

Julian Reitman has long promoted the use of simulation for solving complex problems and is one of the founders of the simulation community. His initial work in engineering was for the United States military in 1947. He joined the Teleregister Corporation as a system engineer in 1955, designing real-time computer/communications systems for airline reservations. Reitman was one of the first individuals to use IBM’s General Purpose Simulation System, commonly known as GPSS. Reitman worked for the Norden Division of United Aircraft Corporation beginning in 1961, solving numerous complex problems using GPSS. He performed research to extend the capabilities of GPSS and developed GPSS-NORDEN which contained these capabilities.

Reitman was a co-founder of (what became) the Winter Simulation Conference (WSC) in 1967 and also served on the WSC Board of Directors. He received the first Lifetime Professional Achievement Award given by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) College on Simulation in 1998. Reitman is the author of Computer Simulation Applications: Discrete Event Simulation for Synthesis and Analysis of Complex Systems, published in 1972. During his career he taught different courses on simulation both at the University of Connecticut and at Norden. Reitman was a co-founder of theInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society. He was also the associate editor for simulation for the IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics.

Thomas J. Schriber, Ph.D.

Thomas J. Schriber is a professor of Technology and Operations in the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He earned his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at the University of Notre Dame (1957, Magna Cum Laude) and his M.S.E., M.A., and Ph.D. at the University of Michigan (1958, 1959, 1964). He has been a visiting scholar at the National University of Singapore (1995), the Swiss Federal Technical University (ETH Zurich, 1987), and Stanford University (1972-1973). He was a National Science Foundation Fellow from 1957 to 1960 and is now a Fellow and charter member of the Decision Sciences Institute and a member of ASIM (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Simulation, the German-language simulation society), the Institute of Industrial Engineers, and INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and Management Science).

Schriber received the INFORMS College on Simulation’s Lifetime Professional Achievement Award in 2001, the INFORMS Simulation Society’s Distinguished Service Award in 1996, the Winter Simulation Conference (WSC) Board of Directors’ Award for Distinguished Service in 2007, and a 40th Anniversary WSC Landmark Paper Award in 2007. He is well-known for his love of teaching, and in 2013 received the Victor L. Bernard Faculty Award for Leadership in Teaching. Since 1967 Schriber has educated many people in the General Purpose Simulation System (GPSS) in various courses and through his widely used “Red Book,” titled Simulation Using GPSS. His numerous professional service contributions including being Program Chair of the 1976 WSC, member (1978-1986) and chair (1982-1983) of the WSC Board of Directors, President of the WSC Foundation in 2007, and editorial service. His research focuses on discrete-event simulation (DES) and includes the logical foundations of DES software, design of DES experiments, analysis of DES output, and the use of DES for decision support.

Curriculum Vitae of Thomas J. Schriber, Ph.D.

Written interview record