Harold Kuhn, professor emeritus of mathematical economics, passed away July 2, 2014

4 thoughts on “Harold Kuhn”

Edward Golding *82

Great teacher and always a gentleman

Gerald Porter '58

As a Princeton undergraduate I took a game theory/econometric graduate course with Kuhn while he was still on the faculty of Bryn Mawr College. This led to his becoming my senior thesis advisor (1957-58). (probably the first thesis he advised at Princeton) My thesis was a computational test of a starting algorithm for the Transportation Problem that compared a proposed algorithm by Kuhn called the Feedback Method (unpublished) with another starting algorithm proposed by Ford and Fulkerson (1956). Each was used in conjunction with Kuhn’s Hungarian Method for solving the problem. The computations were performed on the Von-Neumann computer at the Institute for Advanced Studies. This was one of the first senior thesis at Princeton that used a digital computer. I believe that it may have been the first time the Ford-Fulkerson method was run on a digital computer. The conclusion was that Kuhn’s proposed method was less efficient than the Ford-Fulkerson method. Shortly after I completed my thesis, the Institute machine was disassembled and shipped to the Smithsonian.

Kuhn was an excellent and supportive thesis advisor. In latter years when I met him he would be friendly although he had little recollection of who I was or that he had been my thesis advisor. RIP Harold.

Lorenzo Moreno - Visiting Lecturer in Public Affairs

Kuhn’s collaboration luminaries like John Von Neumann, Nash, and Tucker as well as his long association with Mathematica reassured me I made the right decision to work for it.

Alan Kirman

Harold was, without doubt, the best teacher I ever had, he made things seem so simple and obvious when, in fact they ware often, difficult and obscure. He was my thesis adviser and each time I saw him I came away, encouraged and refreshed. I was completely impressed, not only by his ability, but by the fact that he seemed to enjoy life so much. I remember that one of his colleagues, said that ” Harold is really impossible”, he doesn’t seem to be working hard on anything, and then will suddenly come up with a great idea, formalise it , polish it and publish it!” The person in question obviously thought that this was an extremely bad example for young students, but I have to say that I can only remember with fondness and admiration the way he was. Would that more of us had the capacity to be like him! I saw him just a few years ago in his apartment in New York and though frail his spirit was unchanged. I will miss him.

Edward Golding *82Great teacher and always a gentleman

Gerald Porter '58As a Princeton undergraduate I took a game theory/econometric graduate course with Kuhn while he was still on the faculty of Bryn Mawr College. This led to his becoming my senior thesis advisor (1957-58). (probably the first thesis he advised at Princeton) My thesis was a computational test of a starting algorithm for the Transportation Problem that compared a proposed algorithm by Kuhn called the Feedback Method (unpublished) with another starting algorithm proposed by Ford and Fulkerson (1956). Each was used in conjunction with Kuhn’s Hungarian Method for solving the problem. The computations were performed on the Von-Neumann computer at the Institute for Advanced Studies. This was one of the first senior thesis at Princeton that used a digital computer. I believe that it may have been the first time the Ford-Fulkerson method was run on a digital computer. The conclusion was that Kuhn’s proposed method was less efficient than the Ford-Fulkerson method. Shortly after I completed my thesis, the Institute machine was disassembled and shipped to the Smithsonian.

Kuhn was an excellent and supportive thesis advisor. In latter years when I met him he would be friendly although he had little recollection of who I was or that he had been my thesis advisor. RIP Harold.

Lorenzo Moreno - Visiting Lecturer in Public AffairsKuhn’s collaboration luminaries like John Von Neumann, Nash, and Tucker as well as his long association with Mathematica reassured me I made the right decision to work for it.

Alan KirmanHarold was, without doubt, the best teacher I ever had, he made things seem so simple and obvious when, in fact they ware often, difficult and obscure. He was my thesis adviser and each time I saw him I came away, encouraged and refreshed. I was completely impressed, not only by his ability, but by the fact that he seemed to enjoy life so much. I remember that one of his colleagues, said that ” Harold is really impossible”, he doesn’t seem to be working hard on anything, and then will suddenly come up with a great idea, formalise it , polish it and publish it!” The person in question obviously thought that this was an extremely bad example for young students, but I have to say that I can only remember with fondness and admiration the way he was. Would that more of us had the capacity to be like him! I saw him just a few years ago in his apartment in New York and though frail his spirit was unchanged. I will miss him.