This week’s blogger is Shefali Kulkarni-Thaker, a graduate student working at morLab and is one of the moderators for this blog. You can write to her at shefali [at] mie [dot] utoronto [dot] ca.
Operations Research (OR) traces its roots around world war II and started out with the necessity to win the war. One of the first applications of OR was predicting the location of German submarines. Since then OR has evolved and is practically applicable to any field that is seeking for the “best” in a given situation. It could the least risky investment or the highest return value investment. OR has plenty of applications ranging from airline scheduling to farming. A typical OR problem will try to minimize or maximize a function under some constraints. It will try to answer question like: What is the best way to allocate operation theatres ? As you can imagine this has several dependencies like availability of surgeons, probability of ad-hoc surgeries, time required for a single surgery, patient priority etc.