Leonid Kantorovich
Леонид Канторович
Kantorovich in 1975
Leonid Vitalyevich Kantorovich

(1912-01-19)19 January 1912
Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
Died7 April 1986(1986-04-07) (aged 74)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Resting placeNovodevichy Cemetery, Moscow
Alma materLeningrad State University
Known forCutting stock problem
Linear programming
Kantorovich inequality
Kantorovich metric
Kantorovich theorem
Kantorovich–Rubinstein metric
Monge–Kantorovich transportation problem
Szász–Mirakjan–Kantorovich operator
AwardsNobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (1975)
Stalin Prize (1949)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUSSR Academy of Sciences
Leningrad State University
Doctoral advisorGrigorii Fichtenholz
Vladimir Smirnov
Doctoral studentsSvetlozar Rachev
Gennadii Rubinstein
Academic career
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Leonid Vitalyevich Kantorovich (Russian: Леонид Витальевич Канторович, IPA: [lʲɪɐˈnʲit vʲɪˈtalʲjɪvʲɪtɕ kəntɐˈrovʲɪtɕ] ; 19 January 1912 – 7 April 1986) was a Soviet mathematician and economist, known for his theory and development of techniques for the optimal allocation of resources. He is regarded as the founder of linear programming. He was the winner of the Stalin Prize in 1949 and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1975.


Kantorovich was born on 19 January 1912, to a Russian Jewish family.[1] His father was a doctor practicing in Saint Petersburg.[2] In 1926, at the age of fourteen, he began his studies at Leningrad State University. He graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics in 1930, and began his graduate studies. In 1934, at the age of 22 years, he became a full professor.

Later, Kantorovich worked for the Soviet government. He was given the task of optimizing production in a plywood industry. He devised the mathematical technique now known as linear programming in 1939, some years before it was advanced by George Dantzig. He authored several books including The Mathematical Method of Production Planning and Organization (Russian original 1939), The Best Uses of Economic Resources (Russian original 1959), and, with Vladimir Ivanovich Krylov, Approximate methods of higher analysis (Russian original 1936).[3] For his work, Kantorovich was awarded the Stalin Prize in 1949.

After 1939, he became a professor at Military Engineering-Technical University. During the Siege of Leningrad, Kantorovich was a professor at VITU of Navy and worked on safety of the Road of Life. He calculated the optimal distance between cars on ice in dependence of the thickness of ice and the temperature of the air. In December 1941 and January 1942, Kantorovich walked himself between cars driving on the ice of Lake Ladoga on the Road of Life to ensure that cars did not sink. However, many cars with food for survivors of the siege were destroyed by the German airstrikes. For his feat and courage Kantorovich was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War, and was decorated with the medal For Defense of Leningrad.

In 1948 Kantorovich was assigned to the atomic project of the USSR.

After 1960, Kantorovich lived and worked in Novosibirsk, where he created and took charge of the Department of Computational Mathematics in Novosibirsk State University.[4]

The Nobel Memorial Prize, which he shared with Tjalling Koopmans, was given "for their contributions to the theory of optimum allocation of resources."


In mathematical analysis, Kantorovich had important results in functional analysis, approximation theory, and operator theory.

In particular, Kantorovich formulated some fundamental results in the theory of normed vector lattices, especially in Dedekind complete vector lattices called "K-spaces" which are now referred to as "Kantorovich spaces" in his honor.

Kantorovich showed that functional analysis could be used in the analysis of iterative methods, obtaining the Kantorovich inequalities on the convergence rate of the gradient method and of Newton's method (see the Kantorovich theorem).

Kantorovich considered infinite-dimensional optimization problems, such as the Kantorovich-Monge problem in transport theory. His analysis proposed the Kantorovich–Rubinstein metric, which is used in probability theory, in the theory of the weak convergence of probability measures.

See also


  1. ^ The Soviet Union: empire, nation, and system, By Aron Kat︠s︡enelinboĭgen, page 406, Transaction Publishers, 1990
  2. ^ Gass, Saul I.; Rosenhead, J. (2011). "Leonid Vital'evich Kantorovich". Profiles in Operations Research. International Series in Operations Research & Management Science. Vol. 147. pp. 157–170. doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-6281-2_10. ISBN 978-1-4419-6280-5.
  3. ^ Kaplan, W. (1960). "Review of Approximate methods of higher analysis by L. V. Kantorovich and V. I. Krylov". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 66 (3): 146–147. doi:10.1090/S0002-9904-1960-10408-9.
  4. ^ Kantorovich`s biography in Russian


Nobel prize lecture

Further reading