An introduction to operations research for an anthology on "The Uses and the Spirit of the Mathematical Sciences," sponsored by The Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences. Operations Research more nearly encapsulates the spirit of the postwar world than any other formal discipline. Intensely pragmatic, concerned with direct operational decisions in industry and government, it extends rigorous objective analysis to subjects previously left to expert judgment. Its researchers use whatever mathematical and scientific theories seem useful: hydrodynamic equations for traffic flow; queueing theory; graph or network analysis; mathematical programming; optimization; cost-effectiveness analysis; game theory; computer simulation; and, to some extent, utility theory. It is still pioneering in management technology and social engineering and will probably influence these fields just as physical technology has influenced the physical sciences.
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