L. R. Ford Jr.

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Lester Randolph Ford Jr. (born September 23, 1927 – February 26, 2017) was an American mathematician specializing in network flow problems. He was the son of mathematician Lester R. Ford Sr.[1][2]

Ford's paper with D. R. Fulkerson on the maximum flow problem and the Ford–Fulkerson algorithm for solving it, published as a technical report in 1954 and in a journal in 1956, established the max-flow min-cut theorem.[3][4] Ford also developed the Bellman–Ford algorithm for finding shortest paths in graphs that have negatively weighted edges before Bellman. With Selmer M. Johnson he developed the Ford–Johnson algorithm for sorting, which for 20 years was the comparison sort with the minimum known number of comparisons.[5]


  1. ^ O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Lester Randolph Ford", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews .
  2. ^ "Lester R. Ford Jr. of Santa Barbara, 1927-2017". noozhawk.com. Retrieved 21 April 2017. 
  3. ^ Ford, L. R. Jr.; Fulkerson, D. R. (1956), "Maximal flow through a network" (PDF), Canadian Journal of Mathematics, 8: 399–404, doi:10.4153/cjm-1956-045-5, MR 0079251 .
  4. ^ Gass, Saul I.; Assad, Arjang (2005), "1954 Max-flow min-cut theorem", An annotated timeline of operations research: an informal history, International series in operations research & management science, 75, Springer-Verlag, p. 96, ISBN 978-1-4020-8112-5 .
  5. ^ Mahmoud, Hosam M. (2011), "12.3.1 The Ford–Johnson algorithm", Sorting: A Distribution Theory, Wiley Series in Discrete Mathematics and Optimization, 54, John Wiley & Sons, pp. 286–288, ISBN 9781118031131