Marguerite Straus Frank
Born (1927-09-08) September 8, 1927 (age 92)
Alma materHarvard University
Known forLie Algebra
Mathematical programming
Spouse(s)Joseph Frank (married 1953-his death 2013)
Scientific career
ThesisNew Simple Lie Algebras (1956)
Doctoral advisorAbraham Adrian Albert

Marguerite Straus Frank (born September 8, 1927) is an American-French mathematician who is a pioneer in convex optimization theory and mathematical programming.


After attending secondary schooling in Paris and Toronto,[1] Frank contributed largely to the fields of transportation theory and Lie algebras, which later became the topic of her PhD thesis, New Simple Lie Algebras.[2] She was one of the first female PhD students in mathematics at Harvard University,[3] completing her dissertation in 1956, with Abraham Adrian Albert as her advisor.[2]


Together with Philip Wolfe in 1956 at Princeton, she invented the Frank–Wolfe algorithm,[4] an iterative optimization method for general constrained non-linear problems. While linear programming was popular at that time, the paper marked an important change of paradigm to more general non-linear convex optimization.

This algorithm is used widely in traffic models to assign routes to strategic models such as those using Saturn (software).


Frank was part of the Princeton logistics project led by Harold W. Kuhn and Albert W. Tucker.

In 1977, she became an adjunct associate professor at Columbia University, before moving to Rider University. Marguerite Frank was a visiting professor to Stanford (1985–1990), and ESSEC Business School in Paris (1991).


She was elected a member of the New York Academy of Sciences in 1981.

Personal life

Marguerite Frank was born in France and migrated to U.S. during the war in 1939.[1] She was married to Joseph Frank from 1953 until his death in 2013. He was a Professor of literature at Stanford and an author of widely acclaimed critical biography of Dostoevsky.[5]

Selected publications

  • Frank, M (1954). "A New Class of Simple Lie Algebras". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 40 (8): 713–719. Bibcode:1954PNAS...40..713F. doi:10.1073/pnas.40.8.713. PMC 534147. PMID 16589544.
  • Frank, M.; Wolfe, P. (1956). "An algorithm for quadratic programming". Naval Research Logistics Quarterly. 3: 95. doi:10.1002/nav.3800030109.
  • Frank, M. (1964). "Two New Classes of Simple Lie Algebras". Transactions of the American Mathematical Society. 112 (3): 456. doi:10.2307/1994156. JSTOR 1994156.
  • Frank, M. (1973). "A New Simple Lie Algebra of Characteristic Three". Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society. 38: 43. doi:10.2307/2038767. JSTOR 2038767.
  • Frank, M. (1981). "The Braess paradox". Mathematical Programming. 20: 283. doi:10.1007/BF01589354.
  • Frank, M.; Mladineo, R. H. (1993). "Computer generation of network cost from one link's equilibrium data". Annals of Operations Research. 44 (3): 261.
    1. ^ a b Albert-Goldberg, Nancy (2005). A3 & His Algebra: How a Boy from Chicago's West Side Became a Force in American Mathematics. iUniverse. p. 348. ISBN 9781469726397.
    2. ^ a b "Marguerite Josephine Straus Frank". Mathematics Genealogy Project. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
    3. ^ Assad, Arjang A; Gass, Saul I (2011). Profiles in operations research: pioneers and innovators. Boston, MA: Springer Science+Business Media. ISBN 9781441962812.
    4. ^ Frank, M.; Wolfe, P. (1956). "An algorithm for quadratic programming". Naval Research Logistics Quarterly. 3: 95. doi:10.1002/nav.3800030109.
    5. ^ "Joseph Frank, Biographer of Dostoevsky, Dies at 94". New York Times. 4 March 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2014.

    External links