Operations research (OR) - a definition
Application of mathematical (quantitative) techniques to decision making. In OR, a problem is first clearly defined and represented (modeled) as a set of mathematical equations. It is then subjected to rigorous computer analysis to yield a solution (or a better solution) which is tested and re-tested against real-life situations until an optimum solution is found. OR applies different approaches to different types of problems: dynamic programming, linear programming, and critical path method are used in handling complex information in allocation of resources, inventory control, and in determining economic reorder quantity; forecasting and simulation techniques such as Monte Carlo method are used in situations of high uncertainty such as market trends, next period's sales revenue, and traffic patterns. Also called decision science, management science, or operational research. [Business dictionary]
In short, operations research is research designed to determine most efficient way to do something.
A large number of OR tools are commonly used by the team members:
- graph theory
- linear programming
- integer programming