The faculty who teach OR courses, supervise OR students, and administer the program have their academic appointments in a number of departments, not only in engineering and sciences but also in the colleges of management, forestry, and textiles. OR courses are cross-listed with other departments, and OR students have TA and RA positions in many departments, including departments of computer science, electrical and computer engineering, industrial and systems engineering, mathematics and statistics.
What is Operations Research?
Operations Research (OR) is the use of scientific methodology to study systems whose design or operation require human decision making. OR provides the means for making the most effective decisions about systems design and operation. The strength and versatility of OR stems from its diagnostic power through observation and modeling, as well as from its prescriptive power through analysis and synthesis.
OR is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing on and contributing to the techniques from many fields, including mathematics and mathematical sciences, engineering, economics and the physical sciences. OR practitioners have successfully solved a wide variety of real-world problems, varying from the optimal design of telecommunications networks in the face of uncertain demand, to the planning for an optimal deployment of armed forces during wartime. Many new applications originate from current societal problems of energy production and distribution, environmental pollution control, health maintenance and software production.
OR graduate students have the opportunity to join the student chapter of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), which is a national association for academics and practitioners in OR, management science and related fields. The Omega Rho International Honor Society recognizes student scholarship and leadership in OR and related disciplines. Both organizations promote student professional development and governance and also offer opportunities for social interaction.