**OPERATIONS ** |
The activities carried out in an organization related to
attaining its goals and objectives. |

**RESEARCH** |
The process of observation and testing characterized by
the scientific method. The steps of the process include
observing the situation and formulating a problem statement,
constructing a mathematical model, hypothesizing that the
model represents the important aspects of the situation,
and validating the model through experimentation. |

**ORGANIZATION** |
The society in which the problem arises or for which the
solution is important. The organization may be a corporation,
a branch of government, a department within a firm, a group
of employees, or perhaps even a household or individual. |

**DECISION MAKER** |
An individual or group in the organization capable of proposing
and implementing necessary actions. |

**ANALYST** |
An individual called upon to aid the decision maker in the
problem solving process. The analyst typically has special
skills in modeling, mathematics, data gathering, and computer
implementation. |

**TEAM** |
A group of individuals bringing various skills and viewpoints
to a problem. Historically, operations research has used
the team approach in order that the solution not be limited
by past experience or too narrow a focus. A team also provides
the collection of specialized skills that are rarely found
in a single individual. |

**MODEL** |
An abstract representation of reality. As used here, a representation
of a decision problem related to the operations of the organization.
The model is usually presented in mathematical terms and
includes a statement of the assumptions used in the functional
relationships. Models can also be physical, narrative, or
a set of rules embodied in a computer program. |

**SYSTEMS APPROACH** |
An approach to analysis that attempts to ascertain and include
the broad implications of decisions for the organization.
Both quantitative and qualitative factors are included in
the analysis. |

**OPTIMAL SOLUTION** |
A solution to the model that optimizes (maximizes or minimizes)
some objective measure of merit over all feasible solutions
-- the best solution amongst all alternatives given the
organizational, physical and technological constraints. |

**OPERATIONS RESEARCH TECHNIQUES** |
A collection of general mathematical models, analytical
procedures, and optimization algorithms that have been found
useful in quantitative studies. These include linear programming,
integer programming, network programming, nonlinear programming,
dynamic programming, statistical analysis, probability theory,
queuing theory, stochastic processes, simulation, inventory
theory, reliability, decision analysis, and others. Operations
research professionals have created some of these fields
while others derive from allied disciplines. |