Operations research (OR) is a discipline explicitly devoted
to aiding decision makers. A number of closely related fields
are management science, decision science, operations management,
and systems engineering. OR is most often taught in undergraduate
engineering and business programs. It is often a component in
industrial engineering curricula. There are a number of graduate
programs and a few undergraduate programs in OR. The professional
society for OR in the United States is INFORMS,
the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.
A definition of OR taken in part from the INFORMS web site is:
OR Professionals aim to provide rational bases for decision
making by seeking to understand and structure complex situations
and to use this understanding to predict system behavior and
improve system performance. Much of this work is done using
analytical and numerical techniques to develop and manipulate
mathematical and computer models of organizational systems
composed of people, machines, and procedures.
Additional information and examples of OR applications can
be found at the Science
of Better web site sponsored by INFORMS.
In this section we provide definitions of OR terms, a description
of the OR process and an article relating Excel Models to OR.
Some of the material in this section is based on Chapter 1 of
Operations Research Models