Bill Pulleyblank was a graduate student in Combinatorics and Optimization from 1970 to 1973, when he completed his doctorate. His thesis was on polyhedra associated with the optimal b-matching problem, supervised by Jack Edmonds. After several years as a faculty member at the University of Calgary, Bill returned to C&O as a faculty member in 1982. In the next few years he reached the rank of full professor and held the CPRail/Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Industrial Research Chair in Optimization and Computer Applications.
In 1990 Bill left Waterloo to become the head of the optimization group in the Mathematical Sciences Department of IBM Research, Yorktown Heights, New York. He was soon promoted to Department Director, and a bit later became the first director of the Institute for Deep Computing.
In 2000 Bill was given responsibility for IBM's BlueGene project - to build the world's fastest supercomputer. The group he headed decided on a remarkable highly-scalable architecture based on standard processor components. The goal of being the world's fastest was reached in September 2004, when a performance of over 36 teraflops - 36 trillion floating point operations per second - was achieved by BlueGene.
In 2004 Bill moved from IBM Research to IBM Consulting Services. He was promoted to Vice President and Director of the newly created Center for Business Optimization. In 2010 Bill retired from IBM and joined the Department of Mathematical Sciences of the US Military Academy at West Point, New York. There he is Professor of Operations Research, and holder of the Class of 1950 Chair of Advanced Technology.
In addition to his outstanding career as a research manager, Bill is himself highly respected as a researcher. He has published more than seventy scientific papers, as well as a graduate-level textbook on combinatorial optimization.
His extensive record of editorial service includes terms as managing editor of the Journal of Combinatorial Theory B and as Editor-in-Chief of Mathematical Programming B. He also serves on a number of prestigious advisory panels. Bill was an invited speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 1998, and currently holds the Philip McCord Morse Lectureship of INFORMS, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.
Bill has received many honours over his career. He has been elected a member of the US National Academy of Engineering. He received the University of Waterloo Mathematics Alumni Achievement Medal in 2005. In 2008 Bill was awarded an honorary doctorate by McMaster University.