For the “OR for muggles” blog challenge, I’ve included a list of ten problems that motivate why we need operations research:
- Airline flights have unexpected delays
- Voting lines are too long
- Snow clogged streets delay EMS response and lead to deaths
- Budget cuts in schools require consolidating school bus schedules
- Four words: Six way kidney transplants
- It’s hard to determine how much money to save for retirement.
- New pediatric vaccines require new schedules, prices, and stockpiles
- How police officers are scheduled can increase or decrease certain types of crimes (such as random gunfire).
- We spend way too much time stuck in traffic.
- It’s really hard to predict just about anything, let alone effectively prepare for the possible outcomes.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the uses for operations research. My list doesn’t exactly explain what operations research is, but it gives an idea of what operations research methodologies can be used for. Please check out other ORMS blogs for more lessons on OR for muggles.