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Operations research (OR) is a scientific approach to analyzing problems and making decisions.

OR 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
The field of Operations Research (called operational research in Great Britain) has its roots in the years just prior to World War II as
the British prepared for the anticipated air war. In 1937 field tests started on what was later to be called radar. In 1938 experiments
began to explore how the information provided by radar should be used to direct deployment and use of fighter planes. Until this
time, the word experiment conjured up the picture of a scientist carrying out a controlled experiment in a laboratory. In contrast,
the multi-disciplinary team of scientists working on this radar-fighter plane project studied the actual operating conditions of these
new devices and designed experiments in the field of operations and the new term operations research was born. The team's goal
was to derive an understanding of the operations of the complete system of equipment, people, and environmental conditions (e.g.
weather, nighttime) and then improve upon it. Their work was an important factor in winning the Battle of Britain and operati ons
research eventually spread to all of the military services. Several of the leaders of this effort were Nobel laureates in their original
fields of study.
Similar groups of interdisciplinary scientists were later established in the US at the various branches of the armed services. They
worked to protect convoys, search for enemy convoys, enhance anti-submarine warfare and improve the effectiveness of bombers.
Common elements of their many studies were: data collection, direct observation of operations, a mathematical model,
recommendations for improvements and feedback on the impact of the changes. It was this emphasis on seeing how things actuall y
operated in the real-world and applying a scientific approach to improving performance that gave rise to the term operations
research. Currently, every branch of the military has its own operations research group that includes both military and civilian
personnel. They play a key role in both long-term strategy and weapons development, as well as directing the logistics of actions
such as Operation Desert Storm. In addition, the National Security Agency has its own Center for Operations Research.
In the 1950s operations research evolved into a profession with the formation of national societies, establishment of journals and
academic departments in universities. The use of operations research expanded beyond the military to include both private
companies and other governmental organizations. The petrochemical industry was one of the first to broadly embrace operations
research to improve the performance of plants, develop natural resources and plan strategy. Today, operations research plays
important roles in a variety of industries such as:
airline - scheduling planes and crews, pricing tickets, taking reservations, and planning the size of the fleet,
pharmaceutical - R& D management,
logistics companies - routing and planning,
financial services - credit scoring, marketing, and internal operations,
lumber and wood products - managing forests and cutting timber,
local government - deployment of emergency services, and
policy studies and regulation - environmental pollution, air traffic safety, AIDS, and criminal justice policy.
As the field evolved, the core moved away from interdisciplinary teams to a focus on the development of mathematical models that
can be used to model, improve, and even optimize real-world systems. These mathematical models include both deterministic
models such as mathematical programming, routing or network flows and probabilistic models such as queuing, simulation and
decision trees. These mathematical modeling techniques form the core curriculum of masters degree and doctoral programs in
operations research which can be found in either engineering or business schools. Most mathematics departments also offer one or
more introductory operations research courses at the junior or senior undergraduate level.


Operations research, or operational research in British usage, is a discipline that deals with the application of advanced analytical
methods to help make better decisions.

It is often considered to be a sub-field of mathematics.

The terms management
science and decision science are sometimes used as synonyms. Employing techniques from other mathematical sciences, such
as mathematical modeling, statistical analysis, and mathematical optimization, operations research arrives at optimal or near-
optimal solutions to complex decision-making problems. Because of its emphasis on human-technology interaction and because of
its focus on practical applications, operations research has overlap with other disciplines, notably industrial
engineering and operations management, and draws on psychology and organization science. Operations research is often
concerned with determining the maximum (of profit, performance, or yield) or minimum (of loss, risk, or cost) of some real-world
objective. Originating in military efforts before World War II, its techniques have grown to concern problems in a variety of
Operational research (OR) encompasses a wide range of problem-solving techniques and methods applied in the pursuit of improved
decision-making and efficiency, such assimulation, mathematical optimization, queueing theory and other stochastic-
process models, Markov decision processes, econometric methods, data envelopment analysis,neural networks, expert
systems, decision analysis, and the analytic hierarchy process. Nearly all of these techniques involve the construction of
mathematical models that attempt to describe the system. Because of the computational and statistical nature of most of these
fields, OR also has strong ties to computer science and analytics. Operational researchers faced with a new problem must determine
which of these techniques are most appropriate given the nature of the system, the goals for improvement, and constraints on time
and computing power.
The major subdisciplines in modern operational research, as identified by the journal Operations Research, are:
Computing and information technologies
Financial engineering
Manufacturing, service sciences, and supply chain management
Marketing Engineering
Policy modeling and public sector work
Revenue management
Stochastic models


Along the history, is frequent to find collaboration among scientists and army officers with the same objective, ruling the optimal
decision in battle. In fact that many experts consider the start of Operational Research in the III century B.C., during the II Punic War,
with analysis and solution that Archimedes named for the defense of the city of Syracuse, besieged for Romans. Enter his inventions
would find the catapult, and a system of mirrors that was setting to fire the enemy boats by focusing them with the Sun's rays.
Leonardo DaVinci took part, in 1503, like engineer in the war against Prisa due to he knew techniques to accomplish bombardments,
to construct ships, armored vehicles, cannons, catapults, and another warlike machines.
Another antecedent of use of Operational Research obeys to F.W. Lanchester, who made a mathematical study about the ballistic
potency of opponents and he developed, from a system of equations differential, Lanchester's Square Law, with that can be
available to determine the outcome of a military battle.
Thomas Edison made use of Operational Research, contributing in the antisubmarine war, with his greats ideas, like shields against
torpedo for the ships.
From the mathematical point of view mathematical, in centuries XVII and XVIII, Newton, Leibnitz, Bernoulli and Lagrange, worked in
obtaining maximums and minimums conditioned of certain functions. Mathematical French Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier sketched
methods of present-day Linear Programming. And at late years of the century XVIII, Gaspar Monge laid down the precedents of the
Graphical Method thanks to his development of Descriptive Geometry.
Janos Von Neumann published his work called "Theory of Games", that provided the basics Mathematicians to Linear
Programming.At a later time, in 1947, he viewed the similitude among them Programming linear problems and the matrix theory
that developed himself.
In 1939, mathematical Russian L. Kantorovich, in association with the mathematical Dutchman T. Koopmans, developed the
mathematical theory called "Linear programming", thanks to that went rewarded with the Nobel.
In the late years 30, George Joseph Stigler presented a particular problem known as special diet optimal or more commonly known
as problem of the diet, that came about by the worry of the USA army to guarantee some nutritional requests for his troops to the
lowest price. It was solved with a heuristic method which solution only differ in some centimes against the solution contributed
years later by the Simplex Method.
During the years 1941 and 1942, Kantorovich and Koopmans studied in independent ways the Transport Problem for first time,
knowing this type of problems like problem of Koopmans-Kantorovich. For his solution, they used geometric methods that are
related to Minkowski's theorem of convexity.
It is believed that Charles Babbage is the father of the Operational Research due to his research about the transportation's costs and
sorting of mail realized for the Uniform Penny Post in in England in 1840.
But it does not considered than has been born a new science called Operations Research until the II World War, during battle of
England, where Deutsche Air Force, that is the Luftwaffe, was submitting the Britishers to a hard Air raid, since these had an little
aerial capability, although experimented in the Combat. The British government, looking for some method to defend his country,
convoked several scientists of various disciplines for try to resolve the problem to get the peak of benefit of radars that they had.
Thanks to his work determining the optimal localization of antennas and they got the best distribution of signals to double the
effectiveness of the system of aerial defense.
To notice the range of this new discipline, England created another groups of the same nature in order to obtain optimal results in
the dispute. Just like United States (USA), when joined the War in 1942, creating the project SCOOP (Scientific Computation Of
Optimum Programs), where was working George Bernard Dantzig, who developed in 1947 the Simplex algorithm.
During the Cold War, the old Soviet Union (URRS), excluded of the Plan Marshall, wanted to control the terrestrial communications,
including routes fluvial, from Berlin. In order to avoid the rendition of the city, and his submission to be a part of the deutsche
communist zone, England and United States decided supplying the city, or else by means of escorted convoys (that would be abl e to
give rise to new confrontations) or by means of airlift, breaking or avoiding in any event the blockage from Berlin. Second option was
chosen, starting the Luftbrcke (airlift) at June 25, 1948. This went another from the problems in which worked the SCOOP group, in
December of that same year, could carry 4500 daily tons, and after studies of Research Operations optimized the supplying to get to
the 8000~9000 daily tons in March of 1949. This cipher was the same that would have been transported for terrestrial means, for
that the Soviet decided to suspend the blockage at May 12, 1949.
After second World War, the order of United States' resources (USA) (energy, armaments, and all kind of supplies) took opportune
to accomplish it by models of optimization, resolved intervening linear programming.
At the same time, that the doctrine of Operations Research is being developed, the techniques of computation and computers are
also developing, thanks them the time of resolution of the problems decreased.
The first result of these techniques was given at the year 1952, when a SEAC computer from was used National Bureau of Standards
in way to obtain the problems solution. The success at the resolution time was so encouraging that was immediately used for all
kind of military problems, like determining the optimal height which should fly the planes to locate the enemy submarines,
monetary founds management for logistics and armament, including to determine the depth which should send the charges to reach
the enemy submarines in order to cause the biggest number of casualties, that was translated in a increase in fi ve times in Air
Force's efficacy.
During the 50's and 60's decade, grows the interest and developing of Operational Research, due to its application in the space of
commerce and the industry. Take for example, the the problem of the calculation of the optimal transporting plan of sand of
construction to the works of edification of the city of Moscow, which had 10 origins points and 230 destiny. To resolve it, was used
and Strena computer, that took 10 days in the month of june of 1958, and such solution contributed a reduction of the 11 % of the
expenses in relation to original costs.
Previously, this problems were presented in a discipline knew as Research Companies or Analysis Companies, that did not have so
effective methods like the developed during Second World War (for example the Simplex method). No war applications of
Operations Research there are so as you want imagine, with problems like nutrition of cattle raising, distribution of fields of
cultivation in agriculture, goods transportation, location, personnel's distribution, and nets, queue problems, graphs, etc.


The first modules we developed in this series focused on linear programming. The father of linear programming is George Dantzig,
who developed between 1947 and 1949 the foundation concepts for framing and solving linear programming problems. During
WWII, he worked on developing various plans or proposed schedules of training, logistics supply and deployment which the mili tary
calls "programs." After the war he was challenged to find an efficient way to develop these programs. He came to recognize that the
planning problem could be formulated as a system of linear inequalities. His next challenge involved the concept of a goal. At that
time, when managers thought of goals, they generally meant rules of thumb for carrying out a goal. A navy man might have said our
goal is to win the war and we can do that by building more battleships. Dantzig was the first to express the criterion for selecting a
good or best plan as an explicit mathematical function that we now call the objective function. All of this work would have been of
limited practical value without an efficient method, or algorithm, for finding the optimal solution to a set of linear inequalities that
maximizes (profit) or minimizes (cost) of an objective function. He therefore proceeded to develop the simplex algorithm which
efficiently solves this problem.
Economists were excited by these developments. Several attendees at a first conference entitled Activity Analysis of Production and
Allocation went on to win Nobel prizes in economics with their work drawing on linear programming to model fundamental
economic principles.
The first problem Dantzig solved, much to the chagrin of his wife, was a minimum cost diet problem that involved the solution of
nine equations (nutrition requirements) with seventy-seven decision variables. The National Bureau of Standards supervised the
solution which took 120 man days using hand-operated desk calculators. (His wife rejected the minimum cost diet as boring.)
Nowadays, a standard personal computer could handle this problem in under a second. EXCEL spreadsheet software includes as a
standard addition a module called "solver," which includes a linear programming solver.
As mainframe computers became available in the 50's and grew more and more powerful, the first major users of the simplex
algorithm to solve practical problems were the petroleum and chemical industries. One use was to minimize the cost of blending
gasoline to meet certain performance and content criterion. The field of linear programming grew exponentially and led to the
development of non-linear programming in which inequalities and/or the objective function are non-linear functions. Another
extension is called integer programming (combinatorics) in which the variables must take on only integer values. These disciplines
are collectively called mathematical programming.