Initiated only a few decades ago in World War II, Operations Research has enabled us to achieve some remarkable things. It has enabled us to solve planning problems that were insolvable because of the order of magnitude of possible outcomes. Step by step it is entering our daily lives becoming an indispensable piece of technology.
Operations Research as an area of expertise that originates from the UK. During the Battle of England, the British government was looking for a way to better defend Britain from the air attacks from the Luftwaffe. They convoked several scientists of various disciplines to try to improve the effectiveness of a new invention, the radar. Thanks to Operations Research the optimal location of radar antennas could be found, creating an early warning system to give Britain a competitive edge in the Battle from Britain.
One of the first optimisation techniques developed within Operations Research was the simplex method. It was discovered by George Dantzig in the late 1940’s and it still plays a very central role in Operations Research.
Operations Research applications arise everywhere; in Finance & Accounting, Marketing, Procurement, Production management, Logistics, Personnel management, Government, Sports, etc, etc. It has become a deciding factor for companies to survive or become top players in their market.
For more information on the history of Operations Research see: The Optimisation Edge from Steve Sashihara