Operations research has a long tradition at MIT. In fact, MIT is widely acknowledged as an academic birthplace of operations research in the United States. In 1953, Philip M. Morse, a noted physicist, founded the Center and served as its first director; a year earlier he founded the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA) and served as the Society's first president.
Operations research (OR) is the professional discipline that deals with the application of scientific methods to decision making. OR draws upon ideas from engineering, management, mathematics and psychology to contribute to a wide variety of application domains; the field is closely associated with several other fields in the "decision sciences"—applied mathematics, computer science, economics, statistics, industrial engineering, financial engineering and systems engineering.
Operations research is distinguished by its broad applicability and by the wide variety of career opportunities and work styles it embraces. OR specialists may be theoreticians or practitioners; they may work in academia, in industry or in public service, teaching, conducting research, or consulting by developing and applying OR methods.
In keeping with the broad orientation of operations research, MIT formed the Operations Research Center (ORC) with the explicit objective of becoming the focus of interdepartmental and interdisciplinary activity. The Center brings together faculty from the
Because of its interdisciplinary character and the dual affiliation of its faculty and students, the ORC's educational program is widely recognized as achieving balanced excellence of OR theory and applications.