Operations Research: A Practical Introduction is just that: a hands-on approach to the field of operations research (OR) and a useful guide for using OR techniques in scientific decision making, design, analysis and management. The text accomplishes two goals. First, it provides readers with an introduction to standard mathematical models and algorithms. Second, it is a thorough examination of practical issues relevant to the development and use of computational methods for problem solving.
- All chapters contain up-to-date topics and summaries
- A succinct presentation to fit a one-term course
- Each chapter has references, readings, and list of key terms
- Includes illustrative and current applications
- New exercises are added throughout the text
- Software tools have been updated with the newest and most popular software
Many students of various disciplines such as mathematics, economics, industrial engineering and computer science often take one course in operations research. This book is written to provide a succinct and efficient introduction to the subject for these students, while offering a sound and fundamental preparation for more advanced courses in linear and nonlinear optimization, and many stochastic models and analyses.
It provides relevant analytical tools for this varied audience and will also serve professionals, corporate managers, and technical consultants.
Table of Contents
Introduction to Operations Research. The Origins and Applications of Operations Research. System Modeling Principles. Algorithm Efficiency and Problem Complexity. Optimality and Practicality. Software for Operations Research. Illustrative Applications. Linear Programming. The Linear Programming Model. The Art and Skill of Problem Formulation. Preparation for the Simplex Method. The Simplex Method. Initial Solutions for General Constraints. Information on the Tableau. Duality and Sensitivity Analysis. Revised Simplex and Computational Efficiency. Software for Linear Programming. Illustrative Applications. Network Analysis. Graphs and Networks: Preliminary Definitions. Maximum Flow in Networks. Minimum Cost Network Flow Problems. Network Connectivity. Shortest Path Problems. Dynamic Programming. Project Management. Software for Network Analysis. Illustrative Applications. Integer Programming. Fundamental Concepts. Typical Integer Programming Problems. Zero-One Model Formulations. Branch-and-Bound. Cutting Planes and Facets. Cover Inequalities. Lagrangian Relaxation. Column Generation. Software for Integer Programming. Illustrative Applications. Nonlinear Optimization. Preliminary Notation and Concepts. Unconstrained Optimization. Constrained Optimization. Software for Nonlinear Optimization. Illustrative Applications. Markov Processes. State Transitions. State Probabilities. First Passage Probabilities. Properties of the States in a Markov Process. Steady-State Analysis. Expected First Passage Times. Absorbing Chains. Software for Markov Processes. Illustrative Applications. Queueing Models. Basic Elements of Queueing Systems. Arrival and Service Patterns. Software for Queueing Models. Illustrative Applications. Simulation. Simulation: Purposes and Applications. Discrete Simulation Models. Observations of Simulations. Software for Simulation. Illustrative Applications. Decision Analysis. The Decision-Making Process. An Introduction to Game Theory. Decision Trees. Utility Theory. The Psychology of Decision-Making. Software for Decision Analysis. Illustrative Applications. Heuristic and Metaheuristic Techniques for Optimization. Greedy Heuristics. Local Improvement Heuristics. Simulated Annealing. Parallel Annealing. Genetic Algorithms. Tabu Search. Constraint Programming and Local Search. Other Metaheuristics. Software for Metaheuristics. Illustrative Applications
Michael W. Carter is a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial
Engineering at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario (since 1981) and founding
director of the Centre for Healthcare Engineering (in 2009). He received his PhD in
Combinatorics and Optimization from the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario. He
also spent seven years at Waterloo as a full-time Systems Analyst in the Data Processing
Department. He is a member of the Canadian Operational Research Society (CORS), the
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), the Health
Applications Society (of INFORMS), the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineering
(IISE) and the Society for Health Systems (SHS). He is the Canadian representative for
ORAHS (EURO: Operations Research Applied to Health Services).
Since 1989, his research focus has been in the area of health care resource modeling and
capacity planning. As of January 2018, Dr. Carter had supervised 23 PhD students and
90 Masters and directed more than 250 undergraduate engineering students in over 100
projects with industry partners. He has over 100 former students who now work in the
healthcare industry. He is cross appointed to the Institute of Health Policy, Management
and Evaluation (IHPME) and the School of Public Policy & Governance at the University
Dr. Carter teaches undergraduate courses in Healthcare Systems and Engineering
Economics. Graduate courses include Healthcare Engineering, Healthcare Research and
an Introduction to Operations Research for students in a part-time Master of Health
Administration (MHSc) in IHPME.
He was the winner of the Annual Practice Prize from the Canadian Operational Research
Society (CORS) four times (1988, 1992, 1996, and 2009). In 2000, he received the CORS Award
of Merit for lifetime contributions to Canadian Operational Research. He also received
an Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Toronto Student Administrative
Council. He is on the editorial board for the journals Health Care Management Science,
Operations Research for Health Care, Health Systems, and IISE Transactions on Healthcare
Systems. He is an adjunct scientist with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in
Toronto (www.ices.on.ca) and a member of the Faculty Advisory Council for the University
of Toronto Chapter of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). He is a member of
the Professional Engineers of Ontario. In 2012, he was inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian
Academy of Engineering and in 2013, he was inducted as a Fellow of INFORMS, the international
society for Operations Research and Management Science.
Camille C. Price has been a professor of Computer Science at Stephen F. Austin State
University, Nacogdoches, Texas, and she now continues her academic association as emeritus
professor. She has also held faculty appointments at the University of Texas at Dallas,
Richardson, Texas; Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas; Colby College, Waterville,
Maine; and Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts; and was a Visiting Scholar in
the Center for Cybernetic Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas.
She holds BA and MA degrees in Mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin,
and the PhD degree from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, with graduate
specializations in Computing Science and Operations Research. She held a research fellowship
at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of California Institute of Technology, Pasadena,
California, and subsequently was engaged as a technical consultant for research projects
at the JPL. Professional memberships include the Institute for Operations Research and
the Management Sciences (INFORMS) and the INFORMS Computing Society, life membership
in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the IEEE Computer
Society, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the Sigma Xi Scientific Research
Dr. Price has been the principal investigator on a variety of research projects funded
by the National Science Foundation and the State of Texas. She has twice received NASA
Awards in recognition of technical innovation in task scheduling and resource allocation
in specialized computer networks. She reviews research proposals for the National Science
Foundation and the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. She
has served as an advisory consultant for program accreditation assessments and curriculum
reviews at universities in Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Jordan; and as a member of
the research advisory board for the Texas Department of Transportation. As a consultant
for IBM Corporation, she has taught courses in advanced operating systems to IBM technical
employees in Tokyo, Rome, Texas, and Florida. She has been an editorial consultant and
Series Editor in Operations Research for CRC Press, and is currently the Series Editor of
the Springer International Series in Operations Research and Management Science.
Her primary responsibilities as a faculty member have involved teaching undergraduate
and graduate courses in computer science and operations research, serving as graduate
advisor for computer science and directing graduate student research projects. She is
the recipient of Teaching Excellence Awards from her college and department; and her
research interests and activities have resulted in numerous papers published in scientific
journals and presented at conferences.
Dr. Price’s research projects have addressed various topics in Operations Research. Her
work on heuristic algorithms for mathematical programming problems has been applied
to scheduling and allocation of tasks and resources in distributed computing systems,
novel computer architectures, load balancing in multiprocessor computer systems, flow
control, routing, fault-tolerance in parallel computing systems, and design and analysis of
parallel methods for combinatorial optimization.
Ghaith Rabadi is a professor of Engineering Management & Systems Engineering (EMSE)
at Old Dominion University (ODU), Norfolk, Virginia. He received his PhD and MS in
Industrial Engineering from the University of Central Florida (UCF), Orlando, Florida, in
1999 and 1996 respectively, and his BSc in Industrial Engineering from the University of
Jordan, Amman, Jordan, in 1992. Prior to joining ODU in 2002, he worked at UCF as Post
Doc where he led NASA funded projects on developing discrete-event simulations of the
Space Shuttle ground processes. He was then a visiting assistant professor at the department
of Industrial Engineering & Management Systems at UCF. He then worked as a
research director at Productivity Apex, a modeling and simulation firm based in Orlando,
In summer 2003, he received the NASA Faculty Fellowship where he worked on operation
modeling and simulation of future space launch vehicles at NASA Langley Research
Center in Hampton, Virginia. For their work with NASA, he and his colleagues were
awarded the NASA Software Invention Award and the NASA Board Action Invention
Award. In 2008, he received the Fulbright Specialist Program Award to work with the faculty
at the German-Jordanian University in Amman, Jordan.
He was a visiting professor for one year at the Department of Mechanical and Industrial
Engineering at Qatar University, Doha, Qatar, in 2013–2014 academic year. He taught graduate
and undergraduate courses in Operations Research, Engineering Economics, and
Simulation, and collaborated with the faculty on research pertaining to port operation
simulation and optimization.
In 2016, he received ODU’s Doctoral Mentoring Award for advising 14 PhD students to
graduation over the past 14 years, and for continuing to work closely and publish with his
students. Most recently, he with a team of professors and PhD students received NATO’s
Global Innovation Challenge Award for their work on humanitarian logistics optimization.
Dr. Rabadi’s research has been funded by NASA, NATO Allied Transformation
Command, Department of Homeland Security, Army Corps of Engineers, Department of
the Army, Virginia Port Authority, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, MITRE Corporation,
Boeing, STIHL, CACI, Sentara Hospitals and Qatar Foundation.
His research and teaching interests include Planning & Scheduling, Operations
Research, Simulation Modeling and Analysis, Supply Chain Management & Logistics, and
Data Analytics. He has published a book, and over 100 peer reviewed journal and conference
articles and book chapters. He is a co-founder and is currently the chief editor for
the International Journal of Planning and Scheduling.