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Published by: Usman Ilyas on Jun 25, 2012
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Naser Shoukat Firfire
MBASEMESTER IIMB0048 –Operation Research- 4Credits(Book ID: B1301)Assignment Set- 1 (60Marks)Note: Each question carries 10 Marks. Answer all the questions1. a .Define O.R and discuss its characteristics. [ 5 marks]Operations research
(also referred to as
decision science
, or
) is an interdisciplinary m ath e m at i c al s cie n c e that focuses on the effective
of technology by organizations. In contrast, many other science & engineeringdisciplines focus on technology giving secondary considerations to its use.Employing techniques from other mathematical sciences – such asm ath e m a t ic al m od e ling , s t at is t ic al a n aly s is ,andm ath e m a t i c al op t im iz at ion operations research arrives at optimal or near-optimal solutions to complex decision-making problems.Because of its emphasison human-technology interaction and because of its focus on practical applications,operationsresearch has overlap with other disciplines, notablyin du s t r i al e ng in eer i n gand operat ions m ana ge m en t ,and drawson ps y c h olo g y andor g an izat i on s c i en c e .  Operations Research is often concerned with determining them a xim u m (oprofit, performance, or yield) or minimum (of loss, risk, or cost) of some real-worldobjective. Originating in military efforts before World War II, its techniques havegrown to concern problems in a variety of industries
The various definitions of Operation Research in previous slides bringout the essential characteristics of Operation Research. They are.
 The various definitions of Operation Research in previous slides bring out the essentialcharacteristics of Operation Research. They are........ (1) its system (or executive)orientation, (2) the use of inter-disciplinary teams, (3) application of scientificmethod, (4) uncovering of newproblems, (5) improvement in quality of decisions, (6) use of computer, (7)quantitative solutions, and (8) human factors.
System (or executive) Orientation of OR :
System (or executive) Orientation of OR One of the most important characteristics of OR study is its concern with problems as a whole or its system orientation. Thismeans that an activity by any partof an organisation has some effect on the activity of every other part. The optimumoperation of oneof a system may not be the optimum operation for some other part. Therefore, toevaluate any decision, one must identify all possible intetactions and determine theirempact on the organization as a whole.
The Use of Inter-disciplinary Teams :
 The Use of Inter-disciplinary Teams The second characteristics of OR study is that it
Naser Shoukat Firfire
is performed by a team of scientists whose individual members have been drawnfrom different scientifc andengineering disciplines. For example, one a find a mathematician, statistician,physicist,psychologist, economist and an engineer working together on an OR problem.
Naser Shoukat Firfire
Application of Scientific Method :
Application of Scientific Method The third distinguish feature of OR is the use of scientific method to solve the problem under study. Most scientific research, such aschemistry and physics can becarried out well in the laboratories, under controlled conditions, without muchinterference fromthe outside world. However, the same is not true in the system under study byOR teams. For example, no company can risk its failure in order to conduct asuccessful experiment.
Uncovering of New Problems :
Uncovering of New Problems The fourth characteristic of operation research, whichis often overlooked, is that solution of an OR problem may uncover a number of new problems. Of course, all these uncovered problems need not be solved at thesame time. However, in order to derive maximum benefit, each one of them mustbe solved. It must be remembered that OR is not effectively used if it is restrictedto one-shot problems only. In order to derive full benefits, continuity of researchmust be maintained. Of course, the result of OR study pertaining to a particularproblem need not wait untill all the connected problems solved.
Improvement in quality of decisions :
Improvement in quality of decisions OR gives bad answers to problems, to which,otherwise , worse answers are given. It implies that by applying its scientificapproach, it can only improve the quality of solution but it may not be able to giveperfect solution.
b. Explain the nature of Operations Research and its limitations.[ 5 marks]
Operations research has been used to solve only a fairly limited number of managerial problems. Its limitations should not be overlooked.In the first place, there is the sheer magnitude of the mathematical and computingaspects. The number of variables and interrelationships in many managerialproblems, plus the complexities of human relationships and reactions, calls for ahigher order of mathematics than nuclear physics does. The late mathematicalgenius John von Neumann found, in his development of the theory of games, that hismathematical abilities soon reached their limit in a relatively simple strategicproblem. Managers are, however, a long way from fully using the mathematics nowavailable.In the second place, although probabilities and approximations are being substitutedfor unknown quantities and although scientific method can assign values to factorsthat could never be measured before, a major portion of important managerialdecisions still involves qualitative factors. Until these can be measured, operationsresearch will have limited usefulness in these areas, and decisions will continue to bebased on non-quantitative judgments.Related to the fact that many management decisions involve un-measurable factorsis the lack of information needed to make operations research useful in practice. Inconceptualizing a problem area and constructing a mathematical model to representit, people discover variables about which they need information that is not nowavailable. To improve this situation, persons interested in the practical applications of operations research should place far more emphasis on developing this requiredinformation.

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