I'm interested in beginning studies in operations research, but I just don't know where to begin. If you feel so inclined, please recommend to me some introductory texts. If it matters, I'm very mathematically talented but as far as college mathematics go I only am familiar with a bit of linear algebra and calc 1,2, and 3. I will also be reading this book alongside an introduction to mathematical Logic.

asked 25 May '15, 15:51

battlefrisk's gravatar image

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It may help if you can be clearer as to what "a bit" of linear algebra is? What was in calc 1, 2, 3? How well did you do, and how well did you and do you now know the material? You can feel free to refer to standard books relative to what material was covered.

Have you ever studied probability or statistics at all? Feel free to name books.

(25 May '15, 17:04) Mark L Stone

If you are completely new to OR, a good intro to OR or intro to Management Science book would be a useful start. It would let you get the general lay of the land with respect to tools and (hopefully) applications. I'm partial to Hillier and Lieberman, "Introduction to Operations Research" (now in its 10th edition).

It would be nice if Coursera or edX offered an intro to OR/MS MOOC, but I've yet to see any indication that one exists.


answered 25 May '15, 19:59

Paul%20Rubin's gravatar image

Paul Rubin ♦♦
accept rate: 19%

a bit of linear algebra means that I've only read the first two chapters of Mr. Strang's introduction on the subject. Mostly i understand it as a good way of organizing vector data that exists with high dimensionality.

Calc 1 was differential calc, Calc 2 was integral calculus, and calc 3 was a mixture of three dimensional calc and vector calc. Although admittedly, I took these classes at a time where i wasn't determined to learn and i mostly skated by in class.

I did study stats in high school, but again this was before I became motivated to really understand the topic.

Mr. Rubin, how accessible do you think the book would be to me if i was willing to trudge through it and use the internet to fill in my educaational gaps?

(25 May '15, 21:43) battlefrisk

Basic differential/integral calculus, a little matrix algebra and a modest background in probability and statistics should be all you need for Hillier and Lieberman to be smooth sailing.

(25 May '15, 23:06) Paul Rubin ♦♦

So here is what I think of AP Statistics (which didn't exist when I went to high school some decades back). I think it is useless at best and irrelevant toward serious study of O.R. My advice, take a Probability course (with calculus prerequisite) in college, then take a Statistics course which requires an introductory Probability course as prerequisite. Or a combined two semester (quarter) Probability and Statistics course may be alright.

On an online practice AP Statistics test, I got about 30% of the problems wrong. I suppose the provided answer might be correct given the official AP Statistics curriculum and definitions, but the provided solutions to the problems I got wrong do not correspond to what would be considered a correct answer in the grown-up world.

Here is perhaps the funniest one (hint: I chose E).

    Which of the following is a discrete random variable?

    I. The average height of a randomly selected group of boys.
    II. The annual number of sweepstakes winners from New York City.
    III. The number of presidential elections in the 20th century.
        (A) I only
        (B) II only
        (C) III only
        (D) I and II
        (E) II and III


The correct answer is B. The annual number of sweepstakes winners is an integer value and it results from a random process; so it is a discrete random variable. The average height of a group of boys could be a non-integer, so it is not a discrete variable. And the number of presidential elections in the 20th century is an integer, but it does not vary and it does not result from a random process; so it is not a random variable.

answered 28 May '15, 15:03

Mark%20L%20Stone's gravatar image

Mark L Stone
accept rate: 15%

edited 28 May '15, 15:13

Come on guys and gals. This is hilarious.

(28 May '15, 21:18) Mark L Stone

There was a Coursera course Introduction to Operations Management


answered 01 Jun '15, 04:05

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(01 Jun '15, 04:07) Ross
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Asked: 25 May '15, 15:51

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Last updated: 01 Jun '15, 04:07

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