Yaakov Roll was born in Poland and immigrated to Israel (Palestine) in 1934. He was married to Yael and had four children. As a youngster, Yaakov studied in evening courses and worked as a diamond polisher. After completing his graduate studies, Yaakov Roll worked until 1974 as an engineer in various enterprises, and as co-owner in the consulting firms of Ya'al and later of Roll, Industrial Engineering and Management, Ltd.
He served as Adjunct Lecturer in the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management at the Technion, and in 1974 joined the faculty, with the rank of Associate Professor. He was promoted to Full Professor in 1990, and held the Joseph Greenblatt Chair in Production Engineering. At the faculty, he served in various administrative positions, such as Head of the Industrial Engineering Section, Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies and of Graduate Studies, Faculty Representative in the Senate. In these positions he influenced greatly the teaching philosophy of the faculty.
Professor Roll advised over 25 graduate students, and was very active in research in subjects of production engineering, plant layout, measurement of productivity, and inventory management, as evidenced by his long list of publications.
In 1969 he established the Industrial Engineering and Management Department at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and served as its first chairman.
Yaakov Roll was active in various professional organizations, as member of the Israel Center of Management (M.I.L.), member of the International Advisory Council of the World Confederation of Productivity Science, and on the Board of the International Foundation of Productivity Research. He was Associate Editor of the IIE Transactions.
Professor Roll was highly respected for his intellectual integrity, generosity, his energy, his wide-ranging interests, and contributions to the field of Industrial Engineering. He bore his last illness with dignity and fortitude. The family established in his honor the Yaakov Roll Prize for excellent undergraduate students.
The faculty and members of his field miss him sadly.