The term operational research refers to the discipline which focuses on the use of advanced analytical methodologies to help make better decisions. Operational research is usually considered as a subfield of applied mathematics and is used as a synonym of management science and decision science. As well as this, the discipline overlaps with other subjects such as operations management and industrial engineering. However, the major subdisciplines of operation research include computing and information technologies, simulation, stochastic models, transportation and financial engineering.
Operational research adopts different mathematical techniques such as statistical analysis, mathematical modelling and mathematical optimisations, to solve problems and improve the efficiency of the decision-making process.
Operational research, as a discipline, originated during the First World War during the creation of military plans. In the following decades, all the operational research techniques have been improved and applied to solve problems with society, business and industry. Therefore, the discipline has started being applied to solve allocation problems, analyse critical paths, and optimise search. As well as this, it has been used in fields such as routing, supply chain management, automation, and facility location.
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