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Operations Research and Analytics Research

Cornell University_011121D
[Cornell University]

- Overview

Operations research (OR) is an analytical method of problem-solving and decision-making that is useful in the management of organizations. In operations research, problems are broken down into basic components and then solved in defined steps by mathematical analysis. 

The process of OR can be broadly broken down into the following steps:

  • Identifying a problem that needs to be solved.
  • Constructing a model around the problem that resembles the real world and variables.
  • Using the model to derive solutions to the problem.
  • Testing each solution on the model and analyzing its success.
  • Implementing the solution to the actual problem.

Disciplines that are similar to, or overlap with, operations research include statistical analysis, management science, game theory, optimization theory, artificial intelligence and network analysis. All of these techniques have the goal of solving complex problems and improving quantitative decisions. 

- Characteristics of Operations Research

There are three primary characteristics of all operations research efforts:

  • Optimization: The purpose of operations research is to achieve the best performance under the given circumstances. Optimization also involves comparing and narrowing down potential options.
  • Simulation: This involves building models or replications in order to try out and test solutions before applying them.
  • Probability and statistics: This includes using mathematical algorithms and data to uncover helpful insights and risks, make reliable predictions and test possible solutions.

- Importance of Operations Research

The field of operations research provides a more powerful approach to decision making than ordinary software and data analytics tools. Employing operations research professionals can help companies achieve more complete datasets, consider all available options, predict all possible outcomes and estimate risk. Additionally, operations research can be tailored to specific business processes or use cases to determine which techniques are most appropriate to solve the problem.

- Uses of Operations Research

Operations research can be applied to a variety of use cases, including:

  • Scheduling and time management.
  • Urban and agricultural planning.
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain management (SCM).
  • Inventory management.
  • Network optimization and engineering.
  • Packet routing optimization.
  • Risk management.


- Operation Research and Analytics

Operations Research and Analytics enable organizations to turn complex challenges into substantial opportunities. They transform data into information, and information into insights for making better decisions and improving results.  

Operations research is defined as the scientific process of transforming data into insights to making better decisions. 

Analytics is the application of scientific & mathematical methods to the study & analysis of problems involving complex systems. There are three distinct types of analytics:

  • Descriptive Analytics gives insight into past events, using historical data.
  • Predictive Analytics provides insight on what will happen in the future.
  • Prescriptive Analytics helps with decision making by providing actionable advice.


[More to come ...]



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