Lesso, William G. Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas, Austin, Texas.
Last reviewed:January 2020
- Mathematical Programming
- Linear program model
- Other models
- Network models
- Stochastic Processes
- Queueing theory
- Markov processes
- Decision trees
- Scope of Application
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The application of scientific methods and techniques to decision-making problems. A decision-making problem occurs where there are two or more alternative courses of action, each of which leads to a different and sometimes unknown end result (Fig. 1). Operations research is also used to maximize the utility of limited resources. The objective is to select the best alternative, that is, the one leading to the best result. Often, however, it is not simply a matter of searching a table, as there may literally be an infinity of outcomes. More intelligent means are needed to seek out the prime result.
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