D. R. Fulkerson

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Delbert Ray Fulkerson
Delbert Ray Fulkerson.png
Born (1924-08-14)August 14, 1924
Tamms, Illinois
Died January 10, 1976(1976-01-10) (aged 51)
Ithaca, New York
Residence United States
Nationality American
Alma mater Southern Illinois University, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Known for Ford–Fulkerson algorithm
Children 2 sons
Awards Lester R. Ford Award (1967)[1] of the Mathematical Association of America
Scientific career
Fields Mathematics
Institutions RAND Corporation, Cornell University
Doctoral advisor Cyrus MacDuffee
Doctoral students Jon Folkman

Delbert Ray Fulkerson (/ˈfʌlkərsən/; August 14, 1924 – January 10, 1976) was an American mathematician who co-developed the Ford–Fulkerson algorithm, one of the most well-known algorithms to solve the maximum flow problem in networks.

Early life and education[edit]

D. R. Fulkerson was born in Tamms, Illinois, the third of six children of Elbert and Emma Fulkerson. Fulkerson became an undergraduate at Southern Illinois University. His academic career was interrupted by military service during World War II. Having returned to complete his degree after the war, he went on to do a Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison under the supervision of Cyrus MacDuffee, who was a student of L. E. Dickson. Fulkerson received his Ph.D. in 1951.[2]


He was then with the mathematics department at the RAND Corporation until 1971 when he moved to Cornell University as the Maxwell Upson Professor of Engineering. He remained at Cornell until he committed suicide in 1976.

Fulkerson was the supervisor of Jon Folkman at RAND and Tatsuo Oyama[1] at GRIPS [2].

In 1956, he published his noted paper on the Ford–Fulkerson algorithm[3] together with L.R. Ford, Jr.. In 1979, the renowned Fulkerson Prize was established which is now awarded every three years for outstanding papers in discrete mathematics jointly by the Mathematical Programming Society and the American Mathematical Society.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fulkerson, D. R. (1966). "Flow networks and combinatorial operations research" (PDF). Amer. Math. Monthly. 73: 115–138. doi:10.2307/2313544.
  2. ^ "Delbert Ray Fulkerson" (PDF). library.cornell.edu. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
  3. ^ L. R. Ford; D. R. Fulkerson (1962). Flows in Networks. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

External links[edit]