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Mathematics Department
Mathematics student

Operations Research Major

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Operations Research is a modern, interdisciplinary subject that uses mathematical techniques to solve large-scale optimization problems in the real world. The field grew out of urgent problems faced by the Allies during World War II and helped guide military planners in their decision-making. For example, operations research showed that to minimize the losses of trans-Atlantic shipping to German U-Boats it was better to use a small number of large convoys rather than a large number of small convoys. After the war, operations research extended its influence to all logistical and scheduling problems in the military. Civilian applications also proliferated. For instance, the synchronization of stop-lights for smooth traffic flow throughout a city is an important type of problem in operations research. Also, Major League Baseball and other professional sports leagues hire consultants specializing in operations research to construct the schedule for each season.

In addition to traditional operations research courses, such as linear programming and simulation, Midshipmen majoring in Operations Research (SMO) will also take traditional mathematics courses in probability, statistics, and matrix theory as well as operations research courses applied to military problems.

Operations Research Major Matrices

Learning Outcomes

SMO majors will be able to:

  • Call on the tools of operations research. These tools include mathematical programming, probability theory, statistics, stochastic processes, and simulation. (“Preparation”)
  • Formulate operations research problems and identify methodologies. (“Formulation”)
  • Conduct an appropriate analysis of a problem by constructing and processing a mathematical model or by collecting and statistically analyzing data. (“Analysis”)
  • Evaluate the choice of operations research methods and the quality of decisions made by others.(“Evaluation”)
  • Communicate effectively in plain English and with technical precision, in both written and oral presentations. (“Communication”)
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