Professor Emeritus
Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1957 Operations Research



Dr. Robert M. Oliver is Professor Emeritus of Operations Research and Engineering Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He received a Fulbright Scholarship in Mathematics to the University of London in 1953 and his doctorate in Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1957. He was appointed Director, Management Science Division, Broadview Research Corporation in 1958 and jointly with Aryeh Samuel in 1963, was awarded the Lanchester Prize of the Operations Research Society of America for their research in predicting and optimally scheduling United States Post Office mail flow and sorting operations. At Berkeley, he taught courses in prediction and decision-making models. He was Chairman of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research 1964-1969, Director of the Operations Research Center 1972-1975 and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Engineering. Upon his retirement in 1993 he was awarded the University of California Berkeley Citation. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.He joined the Board of the Fair Isaac Corporation in 1983 and was appointed Chairman of the Fair Isaac Companies in 1995. Fair Isaac is a leading provider of scoring technology and decision models for predicting and controlling financial risk in retail credit. He was appointed a member of the Board of Trustees of the ANSER Corporation of Arlington, Virginia in 1959 and was Chairman of the Board from 1989-2005. ANSER Corporation is a non-profit institution working on government, state and civic problems that serve the national interest. Its HSI Division became the federally funded research and development center of the Department of Homeland Security. He has been a Trustee of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, a member of the Aurora Theatre Board and past Chairman of The Berkeley Repertory Theatre.     


  • Prediction of rare events and risk - escalation of nuclear incidents, accidents and core melts, mid-air collisions, default and fraud detection.
  • Credit risk scoring and management; design of prediction and decision analysis models to control financial risks; effects of prepayments and adverse selection.
  • Analytical models and strategies for detecting and controlling default and fraud. Design of efficient acquisition and negotiation strategies for lenders and borrowers. 



  • "Decision Making and Forecasting: Model Building and Policy Analysis", with K. T. Marshall, McGraw Hill, [1995]
  • "Influence Diagrams, Belief Nets, and Decision Analysis", Editor, with J. Q. Smith, Proceedings of the Berkeley Influence Diagram Conference, May 1988, J. Wiley, [1990].
  • "Flows in Transportation Networks", with Renfrey B. Potts, Academic Press, [1972 ]

Research Papers (partial list)

  • [2014] "The Structure and Impact of Unrevealed Bads in Risk Scores", Journal of the Operational Research Society, 29 January 2014; doi:10.1057/jors.2013.186
  • [2014] "Optimal ROE loan pricing with or without adverse selection", with Bryan Oliver, Journal of the Operational Research Society, v. 65, p.433-442; doi:10.1057/jors.2012.87
  •  [2013] “Financial Performance Measures in Credit Scoring” EURO J Decis Process (2013) 1:169–185,  DOI 10.1007/s40070-013-0017-2  
  • [2013] "Combining Systemic and Non-Systemic Odds in Risk Scores", Journal of the Operational Research Society, 18 December 2013; doi:10.1057/jors.2013.134
  • [2012] "Adverse selection and non-take inference with coherent risk and response scoring", with Aush Thaker, Journal of the Operational Research Society, v. 64, p.70-85; doi:10.1057/jors.2012.3
  • [2005] "Optimal Scoring Cutoff Policies and Efficient Frontiers" with Peter Beling and Zvi Covaliu, Journal of the Operational Research Society, v. 56, p.1016-1029
  • [2005] "Designing Win-Win Financial Loan Products for Consumers and Businesses" with Ralph L. Keeney, Journal of the Operational Research Society, v. 56, p. 1030-1040
  • [2004] "Readings in Credit Scoring" Chapters 6 and 8, edited by L. C. Thomas et. al., Oxford University Press, Oxford, England
  • [2001] "Efficient Frontier Cutoff Policies in Credit Portfolios" with Eric Wells, Journal of the Operational Research Society, v.52, p.1025-1033
  • [2000] "Bayesian Networks Applied to Credit Scoring" with K C Chang et. al., IMA Journal of Mathematics v.11, p.1-18.
  • [1999] "Using 'Efficient Frontiers' to improve Decision Strategies" - A collection of Fair Isaac ViewPoint articles, v. 23, Nos. 2, 3, 4. (translated into Spanish and Portugese in Brazilian Credit and Banking Technology [1999])
  • [1998] "Business Measures of Scorecard Benefit" with Bruce Hoadley, IMA Journal of Mathematics v.9.p. 55-64
  • [1995] "Representation and Solution of Decision Problems Using Sequential Decision Diagrams" with Zvi Covaliu, Management Science v. 41, No. 12.
  • [1990] "Updating Event Tree Parameters to Predict High Risk Incidents", with H.J. Yang, Influence Diagrams, Belief Nets and Decision Analysis, Proceedings of The Influence Diagram Conference, University of California at Berkeley, John Wiley and Sons, 1990.
  • [1990] "A Bayesian Model to Predict Escalation in Nuclear Incidents and Risk", with Tat-Chi Chow and G. A. Vignaux, Operations Research. v. 38, No. 2, p.265-277
  • [1988] "Predicting Nuclear Incidents" with Tat-Chi Chow, Journal of Forecasting, Vol. 7, 49-61
  • [1987] "How Many Nuclear Incidents Will There Be?" with Tat-Chi Chow, Nature, v. 327, No. 6117, p. 20-21
  • [1987] "How Many Reactor Incidents Will There Be? - A Second Response," with Tat-Chi Chow, Nature, Vol. 327, p. 20-21, 1987.
  • [1987] "Bayesian Forecasting with Stable Seasonal Patterns" J. Bus. and Econ. Res., Vol. 5, No. 1, p. 77-85, Jan. 1987.
  • [1987] "A Bayesian Model to Predict Saturation and Logistic Growth" J Operational Research Society, U.K. Vol. 38, No. 1, p 49-56
  • [1979] "Adaptive Filtering Revisited" with Robert F. Nau, J. Opl. Res. Soc. v. 30, No. 9, pp 825-831
  • [1965] "On a Problem of Optimum Priority Classification" with G. Pestalozzi, Journal of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 890-901, 1965.
  • [1964] "An Alternate Derivation of the Pollaczek-Khintchine Formula" Operations Research, Vol. 12, no. 1, 1964.
  • [1962] "Reducing Letter Delays in Post Offices" Operations Research, Vol 10, no. 6, 1962.