The various militaries of World War II were the first to develop what would come to be regarded as the field of modern operations research, starting with the effort in the United Kingdom to analyze and improve their early warning radar system. Since that time, operations research has expanded into a wide range of problem-solving techniques, which according to the Journal of Operations Research, are used in computing, information technology, environmental studies, energy use analysis, natural resource allocation, financial engineering, manufacturing, service science, supply chain management, policy modeling, public sector work, revenue management, simulation, stochastic models, and transportation. As you can see, there is no shortage of applications for operations research.
The main tools of operations researchers are mathematical modeling, statistical analysis, and mathematical optimization, all aimed at optimizing efficiency or performance of the system under study. It is often used to determine maxima of beneficial areas such as profits, performance, or yields; and minima of detrimental things like losses, risks, or cost.
Due to the computational nature of operations research, the work is closely tied to the field of computer science, therefore a good course in operations research will typically involve study of the following:
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