Operational Research:
Methods and Applications

The editorial team at IDA Magazine is thrilled to announce a new initiative aimed at spreading the culture of Operational Research. In our commitment to promoting the understanding and application of decision science, we present an article today that marks the first step towards an exchange of content useful for those new to this field. Recognizing the importance of operational research in improving strategic and operational decisions, we are dedicated to providing accessible and in-depth information.

In this first installment, we highlight the article “Encyclopedia of Operational Research: Methods and Applications,” available on ar5iv. It’s an excellent resource for anyone interested in a comprehensive approach to Operational Research and looking for an informative starting point. Divided into two main sections, methods and applications, it offers a fairly complete overview of the various sub-disciplines and recent developments in the field.

The first section, dedicated to methods, covers a wide range of topics, from game theory to linear programming, from decision analysis to simulation. Each subcategory is thoroughly addressed by experts in the field, as highlighted by contributions from Laurent Charlin and Andrea Lodi on artificial intelligence and machine learning, and from Matthias Ehrgott and Salvatore Greco on decision analysis.

The second section focuses on the practical applications of Operational Research in various areas such as disaster relief, humanitarian logistics, e-commerce, and supply chain management. This part of the article is particularly valuable for professionals seeking concrete examples of how Operational Research can be implemented in different contexts.

One of the most notable aspects of this work is its non-linear approach. The authors have designed the article to be used as a reference point, allowing readers to approach the content according to their own needs and interests. This makes it an extremely flexible tool for a wide audience that includes academics, researchers, students, and professionals.

The dedication to the victims of the 2023 earthquake in Turkey and Syria adds a human touch and shows the social awareness of the authors. They express the hope that advances in Operational Research can help minimize the pain and suffering caused by such disasters, emphasizing the importance of this discipline even in humanitarian contexts.

Here is IDA’s editorial review:

Positive Points:

  • Breadth and Depth of Coverage: The article provides a comprehensive overview of the methods and applications of Operational Research. The vastness of topics covered is impressive, making this work a valuable resource for a wide range of readers.
  • Authoritative Authors: The authors are recognized experts in their specific fields of operational research. This ensures that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date, and of high quality.
  • Non-linear Structure: The ability to read the article in a non-linear way allows readers to focus on areas of greatest interest, making it a very practical and customizable tool.
  • Practical Applicability: The section on the practical applications of Operational Research in various sectors offers concrete and inspiring examples, useful for professionals and scholars who want to see how theory translates into practice.

Negative Points:

  • Complexity for Beginners: Despite being an excellent resource, its depth and complexity might be daunting for beginners or those new to Operational Research.
  • Need for Preexisting Knowledge: Some topics require a certain familiarity with the basic concepts of Operational Research, which might limit its accessibility to a broader audience without specific training.
  • Volume of Information: The vastness of information could be overwhelming for some readers, especially those looking for an introductory or condensed guide.

In conclusion this article, available at https://ar5iv.labs.arxiv.org/html/2303.14217, is a good resource for those wishing to delve into Operational Research. While it may present some challenges for beginners, it is highly recommended to anyone wanting to approach this field seriously and in-depth.