ESD Faculty & Teaching Staff



  Books by ESD Faculty
  ESD Faculty Blogs

ESD-affiliated Faculty & Staff

ESD Alumni

ESD PhD Students

ESD Postdocs

ESD Administration & Staff


Richard Larson

Mitsui Professor of Engineering Systems
Director, Center for Engineering Systems Fundamentals

Dr. Larson received his Ph.D. from MIT.

The majority of his career has focused on operations research as applied to services industries. He is author, co-author or editor of six books and author of over 75 scientific articles, primarily in the fields of technology-enabled education, urban service systems (esp. emergency response systems), queueing, logistics and workforce planning. His first book, Urban Police Patrol Analysis (MIT Press, 1972) was awarded the Lanchester Prize of the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA). He is co-author, with Amedeo Odoni, of Urban Operations Research, Prentice Hall, 1981.

He served as President of ORSA, (1993-4), and is Past-President of INFORMS, Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. He has served as consultant to the World Bank, the United Nations, Johnson Controls, EDS, United Artists Cinemas, Union Carbide Corp., Rand Corp., the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science, Predictive Networks, WebCT, Hibernia College in Ireland, Hong Kong University and the U.S. Department of Justice. With outside companies on which he serves as board member, most recently Structured Decisions Corporation, Dr. Larson has undertaken major projects with Citibank, American Airlines, Actmedia/Turner Broadcasting, the U.S. Postal Service, the City of New York, Jenny Craig, Conagra, Diebold, BOC and other firms and organizations. Dr. Larson's research on queues has not only resulted in new computational techniques (e.g., the Queue Inference Engine and the Hypercube Queueing Model), but has also been covered extensively in national media (e.g., ABC TV's 20/20). Dr. Larson has served as Co-Director of the MIT Operations Research Center (over 15 years in that post). Dr. Larson was first listed in Who's Who in America in 1982. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and is an INFORMS Founding Fellow. He has been honored with the INFORMS President's Award and the Kimball Medal.

From 1995 to mid 2003, Dr. Larson served as Director of MIT's CAES, Center for Advanced Educational Services. Dr. Larson's position at CAES focused on bringing technology-enabled learning to students living on the traditional campus and to those living and working far from the university, perhaps on different continents. During the years 1995 - 1999 he built the center from two to seven business units, encompassing MIT's production and R&D capabilities in educational technologies and its two major lifelong learning academic programs. His center produced the world's most ambitious point-to-point distance learning program, the Singapore MIT Alliance. He has been invited to give lectures on the future of technology-enabled education in testimony before the House Committee on Science (Washington, D.C.) and in North and South America, Asia, Africa and Europe. He has served as Principal Investigator of several of MIT's most ambitious technology-enabled learning programs, including PIVoT -- the web-based the Physics Interactive Video Tutor, Masters' Voices (sponsored by the Ford Motor Company), MIT World, "Inventing the Global Classroom," "Good Clinical Practices" and "Fungal Infections" (the last two sponsored by the Pfizer Corporation). He is Founding Director of LINC, Learning International Networks Consortium, an MIT-based international project that has just held its third international symposium. Dr. Larson also served as founding co-director of the Forum the Internet and the University, a not-for-profit organization affiliated with the Forum for the Future of Higher Education.

Currently he is founding Director of MIT's new Center for Engineering Systems Fundamentals.


> Flu Pandemics: A Conversation with John M. Barry (October 15, 2007)

How Can We Improve Disaster Response? (September 30, 2005)

> Opening Opportunities: The Role of Distance Education (March 23, 2004)

Richard Larson videos on the BLOSSOMS web site:
> Flu Math Games
> The Broken Stick Experiment: Triangles, Random Numbers and Probability

Books Published:

Books Published by Richard C. Larson

Selected Publications:

Paper presented at the 2004 Engineering Systems Symposium:
> Co-Author of Monograph Chapter "Uncertainty Management for Engineering Systems Planning and Design"

Related News:

Article on MIT Professional Education course on crisis management taught by Richard Larson and others “Panel draws crisis management lessons from local events” MIT News – July 29, 2013

New publication by Richard Larson and Anna Teytelman (ORC PhD ‘12) addresses how to improve flu vaccine allocation “Allocating flu vaccines to maximize number of people remaining healthy” MIT News – June 14, 2013

Op-ed by Richard Larson about STEM and the education system: “STEM, teachers and the Boston shoe maker” Washington Examiner – August 27, 2011

Letter to the editor from Richard Larson about STEM and free web-based programs: The News-Press (Southwest Florida) – August 15, 2011; The MetroWest Daily News – August 12, 2011

"Torontonians spend 2009 standing in line" Torstar News Service – December 29, 2009

"Surviving holiday shopping lines" FOX 25 – December 9, 2009

Just before “Black Friday,” Richard Larson talks about queue theory: The Boston Globe (November 22, 2009); The Sacramento Bee – November 24, 2009; Talk of the Nation-NPR – November 24, 2009

Richard Larson talks about businesses and flu on WBUR – November 5, 2009

Op-ed by Richard Larson on education as a service industry Service Science – November 1, 2009

Richard Larson talks about improving checkout lines The Wall Street Journal – August 19, 2009

Click here for archived news items

Richard Larson

Contact info:

Richard Larson
77 Massachusetts Ave.
Building E40-233
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307

Phone: 617.253.3604
Email to: rclarson "at"

Larson CV (PDF)

Support Staff:

Name: Annmarie Foley
Phone: (617) 324-4934


MIT Sloan
MIT School of Science
MIT School of Humanities
MIT SoE MIT Sloan School of Management MIT School of Science SHASS SA+P