Michael Harrison received a BS degree in industrial engineering from Lehigh University in 1966, an MS in industrial engineering from Stanford in 1967, and a PhD in operations research, also from Stanford, in 1970. That same year he joined the faculty of the Graduate School of Business as an Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1973 and to Professor in 1978. He retired in 2011.
Professor Harrison’s research focuses on stochastic models of business systems and business processes. In a four-year period around 1980 he coauthored two influential papers in mathematical finance, developing the mathematical foundations of option theory. In particular, he and his Stanford Graduate School of Business colleague David Kreps introduced the notion of equivalent martingale measures, which have since become a standard tool in theoretical analysis.
Professor Harrison’s later work has focused on the field of operations management, with emphasis on the time dimension of system performance. He has developed a family of stochastic system models called Brownian networks, which approximate the behavior of processing systems that arise in many different contexts, both for purposes of descriptive performance analysis and for purposes of optimal flow management. He has also coauthored papers on optimization of telephone call center operations, and on dynamic pricing with unknown demand.
Professor Harrison is the author of one book and more than 75 articles in scholarly journals.