Sunday, April 28, 2019

History of Operational Research

Nature of Operations Research

Looking to the basic features of the definitions concerning OR, we can state that, 'Operational Research can be considered as the application of the scientific method by interdisciplinary teams to problems involving the control of the organized system to provide solutions, which best serve the purposes of the organization as a whole.

History of Operations Research

The subject of Operational Research (OR) was developed in military context during World War II, pioneered by British scientists. At that time, the military management in England appointed a study group of scientists to deal with the strategic and tactical problems related to air and land defense of the country. The main reason for conducting the study was that they were having very limited military resources. It was, therefore, necessary to decide upon the most effective way of utilizing these resources. as the name implies, Operation Research was apparently invented because the team was dealing with research on military operations. The scientists studied the various problems and on the basis of a quantitative study of operations suggested certain approaches that showed a remarkable success. The encouraging result obtained by the British operations research teams consisting of personnel drawn from various fields like Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Psychology and other physical science, quickly motivated the United States military management to start similar activities. Successful innovations of US teams included the development of new flight patterns, planning sea mining and effective utilization of electronic equipment. Similar OR teams also started functioning in Canada and France. These OR teams were usually assigned to the executive in charge of operations and as such their work came to be known as "Operational Research" in the UK and by a variety of names in the United States an "Operational Analysis, Operations Evaluation, Operations Research, Systems Analysis, System Evaluation and System Research. The name 'Operational research' or 'Operations Research or simply OR is most widely used now days all over the world for the systematic and scientific study of the operations of the system. Till the fifties, the use of OR was mainly confined to military purposes.

After the end of the second world war, the success of military teams attracted the attention of industrial managers who were seeking solutions to their complex managerial problems. At the end of the war, expenditures on defense research were reduced in the UK and this led to the release of many operations research workers from the military at a time when industrial managers were confronted with the need to reconstruct most of Britain's manufacturing industries and plants that had been damaged in the war. Executives in such industries sought assistance from the said operations workers. But in the USA most of the war experienced operations research workers remained in military service as the defense research was increased and consequently operations research was expanded at the end of the war. It was only in the early 1950s, the industry in the USA began to absorb the operation is research worker under the pressure for increased demands for greater productivity originated because of the outbreak of the Korean conflict and because of technological development in the industry. Thus, OR began to develop in the industrial field in the United States since the year 1950. The Operations research society of America was formed in 1953 and in 1957 the international federation of operational research societies was established. various journals relating to OR began to appear in different countries in the year that followed the mid-fifties.