PhD, Mathematics, Yale University, 1953
Post-graduate study, University of Paris, 1952-53
MA, Mathematics, Yale University, 1951
MS, Physics, Catholic University of America, 1949
BA , Columbia Union College, 1948
Courses Recently Taught
BQOM 2904 Creative Thinking and Problem Solving (MBA)
BQOM 2521 Decision Making (MBA)
Decision Making (IEMBA)
Decision Making Lecture (CBA)
Prior to coming to the University of Pittsburgh, Thomas L. Saaty was a professor at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania for 10 years and before that was for seven years in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency at the U.S. State Department. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and serves on the Board of Advisors to Decision Lens, a company based on the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). He is the architect of the decision theory, the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and its generalization to complex decisions with dependence and feedback, the Analytic Network Process (ANP).
In 2000 he received the Gold Medal for his work on decision making from the International Society for Multi-criteria Decision Making. In 2007 he received the Akao prize given by the Quality Function Deployment (QFD) society. In 2008 he received the Impact Prize from INFORMS (the society for Operations Research) for his seminal work on the Analytic Hierarchy Process and for his contribution to its deployment and its extraordinary impact. In 2009 he received the Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award at the University of Pittsburgh.
The International Symposium on the Analytic Hierarchy Process (ISAHP) that takes place every two years was established in 1988. Recent meetings have been in Bern, Switzerland, 2001 (Sixth ISAHP); in Bali, Indonesia, 2003 (Seventh ISAHP); in Hawaii, 2005 (Eighth ISAHP); in Viña del Mar, Chile, 2007 (Ninth ISAHP); in Pittsburgh, United States, 2009 (Tenth ISAHP). The next meeting will be held in 2011 in Naples, Italy.
He has published numerous articles and more than 12 books on the AHP/ANP and decision making and the workings of the brain. His nontechnical book on the AHP, Decision Making for Leaders, has been translated to more than 10 languages. He is also the author of numerous other books on mathematics and mathematical modeling.
His 2009 book, Principia Mathematica Decernendi: Mathematical Principles of Decision Making, draws together his thinking and work on decision making. It expands on the central idea of his theory that human judgment as solicited through simple pairwise comparisons can be used to create scales for both tangibles and intangibles. In classical theory scales are invented and used to measure, but in the end what the measurement means must be interpreted depending on which human values are to be served. Using the AHP, the judgment process is integrated from the beginning starting with the pairwise comparison judgment. The theory evolved to decision making using hierarchical structures and from that to decision making in networks with dependence and feedback and complex decision making involving Benefits, Opportunities, Costs and Risks. His work on group decision making currently is widely used to facilitate decision making in organizations and is being applied to the negotiation of conflicts.
He supervised the Super Decisions software that implements the ANP for decision making in networks and makes it available free to researchers and educators at www.superdecisions.com.
The AHP is used in both individual and group decision-making by business, industry, and governments and is particularly applicable to complex large-scale multiparty multi-criteria decision problems. He has consulted on key decisions for, among others, Merck, IBM, Ford Motor Company, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy and the State Department. The ANP has been applied to a wide variety of decisions involving benefits, costs, opportunities, and risks and is particularly useful in predicting outcomes. It was used to successfully predict the month the economy would turn around during the 1991 and 2001 recessions. At the Pitt Graduate School of Business he teaches Decision Making in Complex Environments as well as a popular course on Creativity and Problem Solving.
He has made contributions in the fields of operations research (parametric linear programming, epidemics and the spread of biological agents, queuing theory, and more generally behavioral mathematics as it relates to operations). He also made contributions in arms control and disarmament, writing a book on mathematical models in that field, and in urban design, where he coauthored the book Compact City with George B. Dantzig. He has written books and articles in graph theory and its applications, nonlinear mathematics, analytical planning, and game theory and conflict resolution. His book, The Brain: Unraveling the Mystery of How It Works, generalizing the ANP further to neural firing and synthesis, appeared in the year 2000. Some of the research on neural synthesis was done in collaboration with Luis G. Vargas.
His current hobbies are collecting jokes and maintaining his world-wide joke list, caring for his garden (coffee-grounds are his latest find as the best fertilizer ever), and collecting new stories and ideas about the creative process.
Research Interest Areas
Decision Making: Developing the mathematical theory of the Analytic Network Process (ANP) for decisions with dependence and feedback to decisions with benefits opportunities, costs and risks. The ANP is a generalization of the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) which has been used to assist governments and corporations in making such decisions as: trading off weapon systems in arms control negotiations, defending against attacks by terrorists and the feasibility of acquiring manufacturing plants in overseas countries in the face of strong competition.
Conflict Resolution: Applying the Analytic Network Process to propose solutions to a variety of international conflicts discussed in the 1989 book Conflict Resolution. Chapter 11 in that book proposed a step-by-step solution to the conflict in South Africa and grew out of a study commissioned by the Government of South Africa in 1986. He has used the ANP to determine the best strategy for the 2003 US war in Iraq (withdrawal from cities and having quartered troops on site) . More recently he has worked with a number of colleagues and participants representing the two sides to determine that a two-state solution is best for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The process continues with support from various organizations. He has proposed the creation of an International Center for Conflict Resolution (ICCR) in a neutral country and corresponded and visited with interested world leaders. He is concerned about the spread of terrorism and the use of nuclear weapons around the world and the increasing threat of a world war. He is also concerned about international conflicts that may arise from the world's growing concern with climate change and environmental pollution.
Process thinking as an advance in systems thinking suggests that systems are always subject to change and improvement, and this applies to our world in general and its integration through the spread of ideas and through trade and interdependence. There is no holding back of the progressive forces shaping the future of mankind. He is writing a book to show that the AHP/ANP is a natural way for people to work together by laying out their goals and purposes to plan and design systems that allow for change and for improvement. Saaty has developed and extensively applied a practical method for projecting the likely future based on the use of both tangible and intangible factors and for working backwards to identify strategies to better attain desired futures.
Research on neural networks: how the synthesis of firing of neurons is intimately related to decision making using ratio and proportion.
Principia Mathematica Decernendi: Mathematical Principles of Decision Making, RWS Publications, 4922 Ellsworth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, 2010.
The Encyclicon Volume 2 (with Brady Cillo), RWS Publications, 4922 Ellsworth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, 2008.
Group Decision Making: Drawing Out and Reconciling Differences (with Kirti Peniwati), RWS Publications, 4922 Ellsworth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, 2008.
Decision Making with the Analytic Network Process: Economic, Political, Social and Technological Applications with benefits, Opportunities, Costs and Risks, (with L.G. Vargas), 2006, Springer's International Series.
Theory and Applications of the Analytic Network Process, RWS Publications, 4922 Ellsworth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, 2005.
The Encyclicon (with M. Ozdemir), RWS Publications, 4922 Ellsworth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, 2004.
Creative Thinking, Problem Solving & Decision Making, RWS Publications, 4922 Ellsworth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, 2001.
Models, Methods, Concepts and Applications of the Analytic Hierarchy Process (with L.G. Vargas), Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, 2000.
The Brain, Unraveling the Mystery of How it Works: The Neural Network Process, RWS Publications, 4922 Ellsworth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, 2000.
The Analytic Network Process: Decision Making with Dependence and Feedback, RWS Publications, 1996, completely revised and published 2001.
Fundamentals of Decision Making with the Analytic Hierarchy Process, paperback, RWS Publications, 4922 Ellsworth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2807, original edition 1994, revised 2000.
Decision Making for Leaders; the Analytical Hierarchy Process for Decisions in a Complex World, Wadsworth, Belmont, Calif., 1982. Translated to French, Indonesian, Spanish, Korean, Arabic, Persian, and Thai. The latest version is available from RWS Publications, 4922 Ellsworth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213, 2000.
Chapters in Books:
The Analytic Network Process- Dependence and Feedback in Decision-Making: Theory and Validation Examples, Chapter 18 in Business Applications and Computational Intelligence, edited by Kevin E. Voges and Nigel K. LI. Pope, Idea Group Publishing, London, 2006.
Dispersion of Group Judgments (with Luis Vargas), pp. 385-396, in "The Next Wave in Computing, Optimization and Decision Technologies" Edited by B. Golden, S. Raghvan and E. Wasil, Springer 2005.
The Analytic Hierarchy and Analytic Network Processes for the Measurement of Intangible Criteria and for Decision-Making, Chapter 9, pp.345-407 in Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis: State of the Art Surveys, edited by J. Figueira, S. Greco, and M Ehrgott, Springer (2005).
The first six chapters in the book Toma de Decisiones En Escenarios Complejos, by Claudio Garuti and Mauricio Escudey (Eds), Editorial Universidad de Santiago, Santiago, Chile, 2005.
"Fundamentals of the Analytic Hierarchy Process, "Chapter 2 in The Analytic Hierarchy Process in Natural Resource and Environmental Decision Making, edited by Daniel L. Schmoldt, Jyrki Kangas, Guillermo A. Mendoza and Mauno Pesonen, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001.
"The Seven Pillars of the Analytic Hierarchy Process," Chapter 2 in Multiple Criteria Decision Making in the New Millennium, edited by Murat Köksalan and Stanley Zionts, Springer, 2001.
Papers and Articles:
Papers, Articles, and Chapters in Books:
Extending the Measurement of Tangibles to Intangibles, (with Mujgan Sagir), Int. J. of Informations Technology and Decision Making, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 7-27, 2009.
Relative Measurement and Its Generalization in Decision Making; Why Pairwise Comparisons are Central in Mathematics for the Measurement of Intangible Factors The Analytic Hierarchy/Network Process, Royal Academy of Sciences, Spain, Series A. Mathematics, November, pp. 251-318, 2008
Making decisions in hierarchic and network systems, (with Mariya Sodenkamp), Int. J. Applied Decision Sciences, Vol.1, No. 1, pp. 24-79, 2008.
Who Won the 2008 Olympics? Journal of Systems Science and Systems Engineering, Vol. 17, No, 4,pp.473-486, Dec. 2008.
Synthesis of Complex Criteria Decision Making: A Case Towards a Consensus Agreement for a Middle East Conflict Resolution, (with J. Zoffer et al.) Group Decision and Negotiation, 17: 363-385, 2008.
The Analytic Network Process, Iranian Journal of Operations Research, Vol.1 No.1 pp.1-27, 2008.
The analytic hierarchy and analytic network measurement processes: Applications to decisions under Risk, European Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics, Vol.1, No.1, pp. 122-196, 2008.
Decision Making with the Analytic Hierarchy Process, Int.J. Services Sciences, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2008.
Time Dependent Decision making; Dynamic Priorities In the AHP/ANP: Generalizing from Points to Functions and from Real to Complex Variables, Mathematical and computer Modelling, Vol. 46, No. 7-8, pp. 860-889, October 2007.
Dispersion of Group Judgments, (with Luis Vargas), Mathematical and computer Modelling, Vol. 46, No. 7-8, pp. 918-925, October 2007.
On the Invalidity of Fuzzifying Numerical Judgments in the Analytic Hierarchy Process, (with Liem T. Tran), Mathematical and computer Modelling, Vol. 46, No. 7-8, pp. 962-975, October 2007.
Multi-decisions Decision-Making: In Addition to Wheeling and Dealing, our national Political Bodies Need a Formal Approach for Prioritization, Mathematical and computer Modelling, Vol. 46, No. 7-8, pp. 1001-1016, October 2007.
The Analytic Hierarchy Process and Human Resource Allocation: Half the Story (with Kirti Peniwati and Jennifer Shang), Mathematical and computer Modelling, Vol. 46, No. 7-8, pp. 1041-1053, October 2007.
The Analytic Hierarchy Process: How to Measure Intangibles in a Meaningful Way Side by Side with tangibles, Transactions from International Symposium on Quality Function Deployment, 19th Symposium, pp. 113-135, 2007.
Group decision-making: Head-count versus intensity of preference,(with Jennifer Shang) Socio-Economic Planning Sciences 41, pp. 22-37, 2007.
There is no Mathematical Validity for Using Fuzzy Number Crunching in the Analytic Hierarchy Process, Journal of Systems Science and Systems Engineering, V0l. 15, No. 4, December 2006.
What is AHP/ANP, Proceedings of the First Japanese Symposium on the Analytic Hierarchy Process, Meijo University, Nagoya, Japan, December, 2006, pp.3-50.
The Unknown in Decision Making: What to do about it, European Journal of Operational Research, 174, 2006, 349-359, with M. Ozdemir.
The Analytic Hierarchy Process: Wash Criteria Should not be Ignored, International Journal of Management and Decision Making, Vol. 7, Nos.2/3, 2006 with L. Vargas
Rank from comparisons and from ratings in the analytic hierarchy/network processes, European Journal of Operational Research 168 (2006) 557-570.
A framework for making a better decision (with Michael Niemira), Research Review, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2006.
Making and Validating Complex Decisions with the AHP/ANP, Journal of Systems Science and Systems Engineering, published at Tsinghua University, Beijing Vol. 14, No. 1, March, 2005, pages 1-36.
The Possibility of Group Welfare Functions, Information Technology and Decision Making, Vol.4, No.2, 2005, pages 167-176, with L. Vargas.
Los conflictos y la resolución de conflictos, Poliantea, Politécnico Grancolombiano, Bogotá, Colombia, No.2 July-December 2004.
An Analytic Network Process model for financial-crisis forecasting, International Journal of Forecasting, Volume 20, Issue 4, October-December 2004, Pages 573-587 with Michael P. Niemira.
The Analytic Hierarchy Process in Medical Diagnosis, the Encyclopedia of Biostatistics, John Wiley and Sons, 2004.
Automatic Decision-Making: Neural Firing and Response, Journal of Systems Science and Systems Engineering, published at Tsinghua University, Beijing Vol. 13, No. 4, December, 2004, pages 385-404.
Fundamentals of the Analytic Network Process: Multiple Networks with Benefits, Costs, Opportunities and Risks, Journal of Systems Science and Systems Engineering, published at Tsinghua University, Beijing, Vol. 13, No. 3, September, 2004, pages 348-379.
Fundamentals of the Analytic Network Process: Dependence and Feedback in Decision-Making with a Single Network, Journal of Systems Science and Systems Engineering, published at Tsinghua University, Beijing, Vol. 13, No. 2, June, 2004, pages 129-157.
Decision Making- The Analytic Hierarchy and Network Processes (AHP/ANP), Journal of Systems Science and Systems Engineering, published at Tsinghua University, Beijing, Vol. 13, No. 1, March 2004, pages 1-35.
Rank from Comparisons and from Ratings in the Analytic Hierarchy/ Network Processes, European Journal of Operational Research, 168, 2006, pages 557-570.
Why the Magic Number Seven Plus or Minus Two, Mathematical and Computer Modelling, 38, 2003 pages 233-244 (With M. Ozdemir)
Theory of the Analytic Hierarchy and Analytic network process- Examples Part 2.2, The International Journal of Systems Research and Information Technologies, 2,2003.
Time Dependent Decision-Making; Dynamic Priorities in the AHP/ANP, Generalizing from Points to Functions and From Real to Complex Variables, Proceedings of the 7th ISAHP Symposium on the AHP, Bali, Indonesia, August, 2003
Theory of the Analytic hierarchy Process, Part 2.1, The International Journal of Systems Research and Information Technologies, 1,2003.
Decision-making with the AHP: Why is the principal eigenvector necessary, European Journal of Operational Research 145 (2003) 85-9.
Priorities as Dominance in Derived measurement: Invariance of the Principal Eigenvector, International Journal of Information Technology and Decision Making, Vol. 2, No. 2 (2003) 185-195 (With M. Ozdemir).
Negative Priorities in the Analytic Hierarchy Process, Mathematical and Computer Modelling 37 (2003) 1063-1075 (With M. Ozdemir).
The Allocation of Intangible Resources: The Analytic Hierarchy Process and Linear programming," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences 37 (2003) 169-184. (With L. Vargas and K. Dellmann).
How to Make and Justify a Decision: The Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP); Part 1. Examples and Applications, The Journal of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, 2002, 1.
Decision Making with the Analytic Hierarchy Process, The Iranian Academy of Sciences in their Journal, Scientia Iranica, Vol. 9, No. 3, July 2002.
Forecasting the Resurgence of the US Economy in 2001: An Expert Judgment Approach, Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, 36(2002) 77-91, (with Andrew R.Blair, Robert Nachtmann, and Rozann Whitaker)
Wrote preface for the book, Modernes Entscheiden mit AHP und Expert Choice, by Oliver Meixner and Rainer Haas of Vienna, Austria, published in German in 2001
"In the Brain Ratio Scales Are Critical for Modeling Neural Synthesis," Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Artificial Neural Networks and Genetic Algorithms (ICANNGA), Academy of Sciences, The Czech Republic, Prague, April 22-25, 2001
"Hypermatrix of the Brain," Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Artificial Neural Networks and Genetic Algorithms (ICANNGA), Academy of Sciences, The Czech Republic, Prague, April 22-25, 2001
"Deriving the AHP 1-9 Scale from First Principles," ISAHP 2001 Proceedings, Bern, Switzerland, August, 2-4, 2001
"Decision Making with the AHP: Why is the Principal Eigenvector Necessary?," ISAHP 2001 Proceedings, Bern, Switzerland, August, 2-4, 2001
"Decision Making with the Analytic Network Process (ANP) and Its "Super Decisions" Software: The National Missile Defense (NMD) Example," ISAHP 2001 Proceedings, Bern, Switzerland, August, 2-4, 2001
"The Decision by the US Congress on China's Trade Status: A Multicriteria Analysis," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, 35(2001) 243-252, (with Yeonmin Cho).
"Ratio Scales are Essential in Neural Synthesis," Invited Lecture, Academy of Sciences, Prague, The Czech Republic, Springer Verlag, to appear April 2001.
"Hypermatrix of the Brain," Invited Lecture, Academy of Sciences, Prague, The Czech Republic, Springer Verlag, to appear April 2001.
"Como Tomar Una Decisions y," published in a new magazine on decision making in Argentina: Decisiones: Toma de Decisiones, January 2000, Vol. I, No.1, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Awards and Honors
2009, The University of Pittsburgh Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award
2008, Impact Prize from INFORMS, the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences for his outstanding work on the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), which has revolutionized how we resolve complex decision problems.
2007, Awarded the International Quality Function Deployment Akao Prize from Japan
2005, Member, National Academy of Engineering: "For the development and generalization of the analytic hierarchy process and the analytic network process in multicriteria decision-making."
2003, Gold Medal from the International Society for Multicriteria Decision Making
In Who's Who in America and American Men of Science.
International Society of the Analytic Hierarchy Process (ISAHP) established in honor of Saaty's Analytic Hierarchy Process. International meetings have been held in Tianjin in 1988, Pittsburgh in 1991, Washington, D.C. in 1994, Vancouver in 1996, Kobe in 1999, Bern in 2001, Bali in 2003.
2000, Awarded the gold medal for work on decision making by the International Society of Multi-criteria Decision Making.
1998, Elected a member of the International Academy of Management.
1984, Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society.
1982, Alumnus of the Year Honor, Columbia Union College.
1982, Notified that the Thomas L. Saaty Prize awarded to best research papers in Mathematics and Management has been established.
1977, Award from the Institute of Management Sciences, College on the Practice of Management Science for his contributions and leadership in one of the best applied studies of the year: The Sudan Transport Plan, work in which 40 scientists, engineers, and world-renowned Wharton colleague economist (Lawrence Klein, Nobel Laureate) were involved over a period of two years to develop a comprehensive transport plan for the Sudan, a study sponsored by the Kuwait fund for Arab economic development.
1973, Awarded the Lester R. Ford prize by the Mathematical Association of America for his work on the four color problem.
1972-76, Invited by the Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in collaboration with the National Science Foundation to give Chautauqua-type two-day lectures eight times a year around the United States to professors of mathematics and science, on the latest ideas in modeling, problem-solving and decision-making, planning, and resource allocation.
1970, Elected to the National Academy of Sciences, Spain.
1959, Elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
External Service and Assignments
National Academy of Engineering
American Mathematical Society
Mathematical Association of America
Operations Research Society of America
International Institute for Strategic Studies
World Future Society
International Peace Science Society
International Academy of Management
Beta Gamma Sigma
Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Associate Editor
The International Journal of Systems, Measurement and Decisions, Associate Editor
The Journal of Mathematical Modeling, Associate Editor
Information Technology and Decision Making, Associate Editor
Journal of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, Associate Editor
Journal of Systems Science and Systems Engineering (JSSSE), Associate Editor
International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Associate Editor
Applied Mathematical Letters, Associate Editor
Journal of Operations Research, Associate Editor, 1958-63
Mathematical Reviews, Reviewer, 1954-75
Newsletter for the Mathematical Sciences, Editor (and originator), 1965-67
Naval Research Logistics Quarterly, Associate Editor
Governments of France, Egypt, Sudan, Kuwait (Council of Ministers), Tanzania, and the United Nations. Westinghouse; U.S. Steel; RCA; Woods Gordon of Canada; R.J. Reynolds; The Ford Foundation; American Cyanimid; Colonial Penn Insurance; Pan American Airlines; Monsanto; Xerox; Kodak; North American Rockwell; Westinghouse; Booz Allen Applied Research; Logistics Management Institute; The Urban Institute; Electric Power Research Institute; NASA; AID; LEAA; Department of State, Department of Defense; Department of the Air Force; National Institute of Health; National Bureau of Standards; Bureau of the Census.
Collector, editor and publisher of twenty-one books on "The Thinking Man's Humor" (an international collection), under various humorous pseudonyms
Owner of a very comprehensive collection of books on Beethoven and of all his recorded works
Builder of furniture
Long time carer and waterer and sometimes planter as needed with wife Rozann of a large and beautiful garden (1000 tulips, 100's of impatience etc. etc.) in the spring and summer