John C. Gittins
Born1938 (age 85–86)
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge (MA), University of Wales (PhD) University of Oxford (Hon. DSc)
Known forGittins index
AwardsRollo Davidson Prize (1982)
Guy Medal (Silver, 1984)
Scientific career
ThesisOptimal resource allocation in chemical research (1968)
Doctoral advisorDennis Lindley

John Charles Gittins (born 1938) is a researcher in applied probability and operations research, who is a professor and Emeritus Fellow at Keble College, Oxford University.

He is renowned as the developer of the "Gittins index", which is used for sequential decision-making, especially in research and development in the pharmaceutical industry.[1][2] He has research interests in applied probability, decision analysis and optimal decisions, including optimal stopping and stochastic optimization.

Gittins was an Assistant Director of Research at the Department of Engineering, Cambridge University from 1967 to 1974. Then he was a lecturer at Oxford University from 1975 to 2005 and head of the Department of Statistics there for 6 years. In 1992, Oxford University awarded him the degree Doctor of Science (D. Sci.). In 1996, he became a Professor of Statistics at Oxford University.

He has been awarded the Rollo Davidson Prize (1982) for early-career probabilists, and the Guy Medal in Silver (1984).

Selected publications


  1. ^ Whittle, Peter (1980). "Multi-armed bandits and the Gittins index". Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series B. 42 (2): 143–149. JSTOR 2984953.
  2. ^ Whittle, Peter (2002). "Applied probability in Great Britain (50th anniversary issue of Operations Research)". Oper. Res. 50 (1): 227–239. doi:10.1287/opre. JSTOR 3088474.