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Short Descriptions of Operations Research

The following general descriptions of Operations Research are often referred to colloquially or cited in the literature:

Lindsay Blakely
In the simplest terms, Operations Research is the process of using sophisticated analytics to tackle complex business problems.
Operational Research may be described as a scientific approach to the solution of problems in the management of complex systems. In a rapidly changing environment an understanding is sought which will facilitate the choice and the implementation of more effective solutions which, typically, may involve complex interactions among people, materials and money. Operational Research has been used intensively in business, industry and government.
Operations Research is the discipline of applying advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions. By using techniques such as mathematical modeling to analyze complex situations, operations research gives executives the power to make more effective decisions and build more productive systems based on more complete data, consideration of all available options, careful predictions of outcomes and estimates of risk, and the latest decision tools and techniques.
Lancaster University
Operational Research is the use of advanced analytical techniques to improve decision making.
QuIC Solutions
Operations Research is a scientific approach to analyzing problems and making decisions. Operations Research 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.
Ronald R Rardin
Operations Research is the study of how to form mathematical models of complex engineering and management problems and how to analyze them to gain insight about possible solutions.
Hamdy A Taha
Operations Research has been characterised by the use of scientific knowledge through interdisciplinary team effort for the purpose of deciding upon the best utilisation of limited resources.
Wayne L Winston
Operations Research is a scientific approach to decision making, which seeks to determine how best to design and operate a system, usually under conditions requiring the allocation of scarce resources.


  1. The Association of European Operational Research Societies, 2010. What is Operational Research?, Available Online.
  2. Blakely L, 2008. What Is Operations Research?, The CBS Interactive Business Network, Available Online.
  3. Lancaster University Management School, 2010. Operational Research and Management Science, Available Online.
  4. QuIC Solitions, 2010. High School Operations Research, Available Online.
  5. Rardin RL, 1998. Optimization in Operations Research, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River (NJ).
  6. Taha TA, 1971. Operations Research: An Introduction, Macmillan Company, New York (NY).
  7. Winston WL, 1994, Operations Research: Applications and Algorithms, Duxbury Press, Belmont (CA).
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