Operations Research (OR) is distinguished by its use of quantitative methods (mathematics, statistics, and computing) to aid in rational decision making. Operations Research has been successfully applied to a wide range of problems arising in business and government, such as locating industrial plants, allocating emergency facilities, planning capital investments, designing communication systems, and scheduling production in factories. A common element of these decision problems is the need to allocate scarce resources (such as money, time, or space) while attempting to meet conflicting objectives (such as minimizing cost or maximizing production).
Operations Research often approaches a particular problem from several modeling perspectives and uses various analytical techniques. Because of the diversity and broad scope of decision problems, the successful OR practitioner requires training in a number of mathematical concepts and techniques. Areas in the mathematical sciences that relate directly to OR are optimization (linear, nonlinear, integer, network programming, calculus of variations, control theory); applied probability (stochastic processes, queueing, reliability); and applied statistics (simulation, econometrics, time series). Computational mathematics also plays an important role in the effective application of OR because of the need to structure and analyze vast amounts of data and to solve large-scale problems efficiently. Other areas of the mathematical sciences related to OR are combinatorics, graph theory, financial mathematics, and dynamical systems.
Courses (Course Descriptions)
Sample Program for M.S. Concentration in Optimization
Sample Program for M.S. Concentration in Stochastics
Additional OR Links