George Bernard Dantzig was born on November 8, 1914. His father, Tobias, was a Russian mathematician and his mother, Anja ourisson, was a university student.
In 1936, Dantzig earned bachelor's degrees in mathematics and physics at the University of Maryland. He earned his master's degree at the University of Michigan, followed by his doctorate at the University of California at Berkeley in 1946.
In 1939, Dantzig earned fame while studying at Berkeley. He reportedly came to class late and, after seeing 4 statistics problems on the board, wrote them down thinking that they were homework problems. Later that week, he turned in solutions for two of them, not realizing that they were actually unsolved statistics problems. His professor, Jerzy Neyman, was amazed and Dantzig was credited with solving the two problems.
At the beginning of World War II, Dantzig left Berkeley to become the Head of the Combat Analysis Branch in the United States Air Force's Headquarters of Statistical Control. There, he was in charge of solving supply chain problems and the management of thousands of inventory items and employees. After the war ended, he completed his doctoral studies at Berkeley and returned to the Air Force as a mathematics consultant.
In 1947, he made his greatest achievement by proposing the first linear programming problem and a method for solving it, the Simplex Method. The Simplex Method uses a matrix to solve linear programming problems through row reduction. The system has since been used to solve many complex real world problems.
In 1952, he was hired by RAND Corporation as a research mathematician. There, he began writing programs that used the Simplex Method. In 1960, he was hired by Berkeley to teach computer science. After a time, he was appointed chairman of the university's Operations Research Center. In 1966, he was given a position at Stanford University, where he stayed until retiring in the 1990s.
In honor of his achievements, the Mathematical Programming Society created the Dantzig Award in 1982. The award is given every three years to people who make significant achievements in linear programming.
George Dantzig died on May 13, 2005 in Stanford, California. His cause of death was reportedly complications between diabetes and cardiovascular disease.