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Robert Fildes started his academic life as a mathematician and applied probabilist, first at Oxford and subsequently at the University of California, Davis. Collaborations with Geoff Allen were at that time reserved for planning skiing trips. Having exhausted his interest in theoretical mathematics he accepted a post at the Manchester Business School, meeting a career goal to work in one of Britain's newly founded business schools and returning him to his home town.. Following an exhortation to 'do something useful' in management science he found himself teaching and researching forecasting.

A well-received first book on forecasting led Spyros Makridakis to co-opt him to write a chapter for the TIMS Studies in Management Science on forecasting method selection. It required a lot of reading, so putting to work the management efficiency concepts that were being taught all around him, he collected the references into a bibliography. Eventually, this turned into two publications listing 7000 of the major forecasting papers for the years 1965-1981. Attempting to deflect the scorn of his academic colleagues and rise above this exercise in mere cataloging, he wrote two survey papers (published in 1979 and 1985 in the Journal of the Operational Research Society 1985) summarizing the effectiveness of extrapolative and causal forecasting methods respectively. The latter paper is the progenitor of the more ambitious set of econometric principals laid out here.

Survey papers take a lot of work and are thought of (wrongly) as not always demonstrating the highest levels of intellect. Because of various prior commitments, he was unable to devote his life to this paper and is pleased to be included as an author in this major research effort conducted by Geoff Allen.

In founding the Journal of Forecasting and in l985 the International Journal of Forecasting and later as Editor and Chief Editor of these journals, he has collaborated for long periods with Scott Armstrong and Spyros Makridakis. It would be true to say that they both have had a major influence on his thinking.