Haas Computer Simulation Expert Passes Away

Haas School Professor Emeritus Austin “Auggie” Hoggatt, a simulation expert who helped start the Berkeley Energy and Resources Group, died of congestive heart failure at his home April 29. He was 79.

Hoggatt’s research and consulting spanned a wide range of fields, including computer simulations, experimental economics, management science, and savings and loans.

Before joining the business school at UC Berkeley in 1957, Hoggatt earned his PhD at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, writing the first thesis in the US that used simulations with a human-to-computer interface.

Hoggatt served as the director of UC Berkeley’s Computer Center from 1961 to 1962. At the business school, he co-founded the Management Science Laboratory with Professor Fred Balderston in 1968 and served as its chairman. The lab, funded by the National Science Foundation, was the first to run computer simulations in game theory and experimental economics with human-to-computer interface, according to Hoggatt's family.

“He was a pioneer in computing even before the field of computer science had emerged,” Haas Professor Thomas Marschak said.

Hoggatt and Balderston co-authored an influential book, Simulation of Market Processes, based on computer simulations they had conducted on the lumber industry. “The book was a breakthrough because this kind of analysis of an entire industry was not possible before the advent of computers," Marschak recalled.

In 1972 Hoggatt was invited by former Berkeley Professor John Holdren, currently President Obama’s adviser on science and technology, to help launch the interdisciplinary Energy and Resources Group to foster research and leadership in environmental resources and sustainability at UC Berkeley.

Hoggatt taught mathematics, statistics, and quantitive methods at all levels, from undergraduates to PhD students.
“He was very good at questioning our understanding and making sure we had a thorough knowledge of each lecture,” said Tom McCullough, one of Hoggatt’s students. McCullough said Hoggatt was instrumental in attracting him to the business school's PhD program, and after becoming a teacher at Haas himself, he often looked up his old Hoggatt class notes to pick out questions to ask students.

Hoggatt is survived by his wife of 57 years, Patricia Jane Lynn, with whom he raised five daughters — Lynn, Tina, Karen (deceased), Dawn, and Wendy.

Donations in honor of Hoggatt may be made to The Bear Fellowship at the Energy & Resources Group, University of California, Berkeley, erg.berkeley.edu, (510) 642-1640.