This interview took place at Cornell University.
Interviewer: Robert G. Sargent
Interview place: Ithaca, New York
Interview date: 2014-06-11
Richard W. Conway is the Emerson Electric Company Professor of Manufacturing Management, Emeritus, at Cornell University. He was educated at Cornell, receiving his BME in 1954 and the first Ph.D. awarded in Industrial Engineering in 1958. Conway spent his professional career at Cornell where he held faculty appointments in several areas: industrial engineering, operations research, computer science, and the Johnson Graduate School of Management. He also held visiting appointments at other institutions. Conway is known for his work in simulation, scheduling, and computer science. His involvement with simulation began during the infancy of the field when he created simulation models to solve scheduling problems for his Ph.D. dissertation. Conway’s continued use of simulation to investigate scheduling problems led to significant contributions to simulation methodology. His use of modeling and simulation to solve problems in manufacturing management persisted throughout his career.
Two of his publications are well-known classics: the 1963 paper “Some Tactical Problems in Digital Simulation” published in Management Science and the co-authored book The Theory of Scheduling published in 1967. Conway was a co-developer of the XCELL Factory Modeling System for simulating factories. He was a co-developer of computer languages, including the Cornell Computer Language (CORC), Cornell University Programming Language (CUPL), and PL/C. A co-author of several computer programming language books, Conway was a co-founder of the Department of Computer Science at Cornell University (1965). He has held consultancies with numerous companies and organizations. During his extensive career, Conway served as principal investigator for several sponsored projects in scheduling and the development of programming systems and environments, including database systems. In 1992 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and in 2002 was named a Fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).