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Alvin W. Drake papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MC-0635

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The collection contains course materials such as quizzes, practice tests, and exams; course syllabi; problem sets, homework, and solutions; overheads and handouts; lecture notes; discussion sessions on videocassette (printouts); and recitation materials. The course materials are primarily related to Drake’s most well-known course, 6.041, Probabilistic Systems Analysis. The collection also includes publications, lectures, and conference papers.


  • 1968 - 2001
  • Majority of material found within 1980 - 2000


Access note

This collection is open.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.


Alvin W. Drake, 1935-2005, SB, SM 1958, EE 1961, ScD 1962, Masssachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), began his teaching career at MIT as an instructor in electrical engineering in 1960. He served as associate director of the Operations Research Center (ORC) from 1966 to 1977 and was promoted to full professor in 1973. In 1991, Drake received the School of Engineering’s Amar Bose Award for excellence in teaching, and in 1995 he was appointed Ford Professor of Engineering. With the exception of service in the US Army Signal Corps (1962-1964) and sabbaticals at Harvard and Berkeley, Drake taught continuously until his retirement at the end of 1996. In his later years at MIT, he worked with students in the Engineering Systems Division (ESD) and in the Leaders for Manufacturing Program (LFM).

Drake focused his research on decision analysis, applied probability, applications of operations research to public systems, and blood and organ banking, and he launched MIT and the ORC into the analysis of public systems. One of his best-known courses at MIT was Probabilistic Systems Analysis (6.041). Drake is the author of one book, Fundamentals of Probability Theory (1967), and the co-author of a second book, The American Blood Supply (1982).


6 Cubic Feet (6 record cartons)

Language of Materials



The collection documents the career of Alvin W. Drake, who taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1960 to 1996. He served as associate director of the Operations Research Center from 1966 to 1977. Drake’s work in operations research focused on decision analysis, applied probability, applications of operations research to public systems and blood and organ banking. Course materials, including exams, syllabi, problem sets, and lecture notes, document his teaching and research. Also included are publications and conference papers.


Materials are stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.

Related Materials

Philip McCord Morse Papers, 1927-1980 (MC 75). MIT Department of Distinctive Collections.


  • Drake, Alvin W. Fundamentals of Probability Theory. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967. MIT Libraries
  • Drake, Alvin W., Stan N. Finkelstein, & Harvey M. Sapolsky. The American Blood Supply. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1982. MIT Libraries

Processing Information note

Some collection descriptions are based on legacy data and may be incomplete or contain inaccuracies. Description may change pending verification. Please contact the MIT Department of Distinctive Collections if you notice any errors or discrepancies.

Preliminary Inventory to the Papers of Alvin W. Drake
Ready For Review
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US