Thomson M. Whitin

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Thomson McLintock Whitin
Thomson McLintock Whitin.jpg
Born(1923-01-12)January 12, 1923
DiedDecember 9, 2013(2013-12-09) (aged 90)
Nationality American
Known for Dynamic lot-size model

Thomson McLintock Whitin (January 12, 1923 – December 9, 2013) was an American management scientist, and Emeritus Professor of Economics and Social Sciences at Wesleyan University, known for his work on inventory control [1] and inventory management. [2]

Wesleyan University private liberal arts college in Middletown, Connecticut

Wesleyan University is a private liberal arts college in Middletown, Connecticut. It is a baccalaureate college that emphasizes undergraduate instruction in the arts and sciences, but also grants research master's and doctoral degrees in many academic disciplines.

Inventory control or stock control can be broadly defined as "the activity of checking a shop’s stock." However, a more focused definition takes into account the more science-based, methodical practice of not only verifying a business' inventory but also focusing on the many related facets of inventory management "within an organisation to meet the demand placed upon that business economically." Other facets of inventory control include supply chain management, production control, financial flexibility, and customer satisfaction. At the root of inventory control, however, is the inventory control problem, which involves determining when to order, how much to order, and the logistics (where) of those decisions.



Born and raised in Northbridge, Massachusetts, Whitin graduated from Kent School in Kent, Connecticut in 1940 and received his AB from Princeton University in 1943. He then joined the U.S. Navy, where he became gunnery officer on the Essex-class aircraft carrier USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31). After the War he returned to Princeton, where he received his AM and PhD late 1940s. [3]

Kent School Private, boarding school in Kent, Connecticut, United States

Kent School is a private, co-educational college preparatory school in Kent, Connecticut, United States. Frederick Herbert Sill, Order of the Holy Cross, established the school in 1906 and it retains its affiliation with the Episcopal Church of the United States.

Kent, Connecticut Town in Connecticut, United States

Kent is a town in Litchfield County, Connecticut, alongside the border with New York. The population was 2,858 at the 2000 census. The town is home to three boarding schools: Kent School, The Marvelwood School and South Kent School. The Schaghticoke Indian Reservation is also located within town borders.

Princeton University University in Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The institution moved to Newark in 1747, then to the current site nine years later, and renamed itself Princeton University in 1896.

After graduation Whitin started his academic career as Associate Professor at Princeton University in its Economics Department. In 1953 he moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was appointed Professor of Economics in the School of Industrial Management. From 1956 to 1958 he was Chief Economist at the Atomic Energy Commission in Washington DC, and returned to MIT for another two years. [4] In 1960 he was appointed Professor of Business Administration at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1963 he moved back to Connecticut to the Wesleyan University, where he was appointed Chester D. Hubbard Professor of Economics and Social Sciences, where he stayed until his retirement June 30, 1993.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology University in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Institute is a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant university, with an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The Institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the Bates Center, and the Haystack Observatory, as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad and Whitehead Institutes. Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, MIT adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength, making it one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the world.

United States Atomic Energy Commission Former agency of the United States federal government

The United States Atomic Energy Commission, commonly known as the AEC, was an agency of the United States government established after World War II by U.S. Congress to foster and control the peacetime development of atomic science and technology. President Harry S. Truman signed the McMahon/Atomic Energy Act on August 1, 1946, transferring the control of atomic energy from military to civilian hands, effective on January 1, 1947. This shift gave the members of the AEC complete control of the plants, laboratories, equipment, and personnel assembled during the war to produce the atomic bomb.

In 1958 Whitin and Harvey M. Wagner wrote the article "Dynamic version of the economic lot size model.", what would become the seminal work on the dynamic lot-size model. [5]

Harvey Maurice Wagner was an American management scientist, consultant, and Professor of Operation Research and Innovation Management at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, known for his books on Operations Research and his seminal work on the dynamic lot-size model with Thomson M. Whitin.

The dynamic lot-size model in inventory theory, is a generalization of the economic order quantity model that takes into account that demand for the product varies over time. The model was introduced by Harvey M. Wagner and Thomson M. Whitin in 1958.

Whitin died aged 90 at Tiverton, Rhode Island in December, 2013. [4]


Books: [6]

Articles, a selection:

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  1. Kenneth Joseph Arrow (1985) Collected Papers of Kenneth J. Arrow: Production and capital. p. 27
  2. Michael C. Lovell and Attila Chikàn eds. (1988) The Economics of Inventory Management: Essays Honoring Thomson M. Whitin. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1988
  3. Robert W. Grubbström (2012) "Current Research Interests in Production Economics" Presentation at the 3rd Workshop on Operations Management and Technology. Cartagena, Spain, May 14, 2012. p. 64
  4. 1 2 "Thomson M. Whitin, 90, Tiverton, Little Compton". Archived from the original on 2013-12-16. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
  5. Wagelmans, Albert, Stan Van Hoesel, and Antoon Kolen. "Economic lot sizing: an O (n log n) algorithm that runs in linear time in the Wagner-Whitin case." Operations Research 40.1-Supplement-1 (1992): S145-S156.
  6. Whitin, Thomson M. on