Howard Raiffa Remembered by CREATE Director Detlof von Winterfeldt

Howard Raiffa (1924-2016)

By Detlof von Winterfeldt

Howard Raiffa, founding father of the field of decision analysis, passed away on July 8, 2016 at the age of 92. His scholarly work provided the basis for much of the work of CREATE in game theory, decision analysis, and risk analysis.  He also was a friend and colleague of Ralph Keeney, the chairman of CREATE’s scientific advisory committee, with whom he published the influential book “Decisions with Multiple Objectives” in 1976.  In addition to this book, he published “Games and Decisions” (with R. Duncan Luce) in 1957, “Applied Statistical Decision Theory” (with Robert Schlaifer) in 1961, “Decision Analysis” in 1968, and “The Art and Science of Negotiations” in 1982.  These books had a tremendous influence on many of us in the field, including at least three CREATE directors (Steve Hora, Ali Abbas, and myself). 

I first met Howard in 1975 when I was a young research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), which Howard founded in 1972 serving as his first director from 1972 to 1975.  I continued to communicate with Howards over the years and later followed in his footsteps as the 9th director of IIASA (see picture below in 2012 with Howard in the center, flanked by Pavel Kabat, current director, on his left, Roger Levien, IIASA’s second director at his right, as well as five other successors, including myself at the far right).


In the last year of his life, Ralph and I helped organize a session in honor of Howard Raiffa for the conference “Systems Analysis 2015” held in his honor at IIASA last November (see the picture below which shows the three of us working together in preparation for this conference at Howard’s Tuscon home).  


Everyone who read his work, appreciated Howard as a great scholar and intellectual leader.  Those of us who knew him personally, also appreciated his humility and humanity. We will miss him tremendously.