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HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF OPERATI0NS RESEARCH

Despite the diversity of perspectives of OR, its special activity, which inform the kind of training basic to it, is fundamentally the attack of science on operational problems existing in any endeavour, civilian or military, business, politics, industry, general administration, or even in self management. This attack of science, has its origin in the activities of the pioneer, of OR.

Indeed literature is replete with tracing the origin of formal OR to the World War II exigencies that compelled enlisting the contribution of active scientists in fighting the war. Science gift to mankind is research, which is the bedrock of developments over the ages, and especially in modern times. It was this Research that the scientists during the World War II faithfully brought to bear on military operations of the time, which yielded resounding results that recommended a formalization of such activities and their spread to other endeavours, even after the War. Thus two issues are fundamental to OR: its science basis and its pervasive application and applicability.

Science is fundamentally about systematically searching for facts (information gathering and data recording), organizing such fact (data) to deduce further facts, which are factually verified to be factually valid. This is what Research is all about. Our field, OR, seeks to faithfully apply this approach and methodology to operation in any context.

The use of the method of scientific research in tackling formalized operational problems in diverse situation since the World War II has led to the formalization of the experiences into what we now know as OR-problem models and solution techniques most of which are mathematical.

Thus, OR today comprises;

  1. Its philosophy of factually and systematically analyzing operations as a way of tackling them.
  2. Its methodology of formally representing such problems as the basis for reasoning out the solutions.
  3. Its techniques which are special procedures, usually derived from appropriate mathematical theories, as the tools for deducing solutions to the problems by using the models.
  4. It’s content of applications, which pervasively are operations in any situation. It is clear from the above that OR has something for every body in any situation, you may not be a sophisticated mathematician and yet be a major Operational Researcher.

OR PROFESSIONALISM AND ITS RELEVANCE TO SOCIETY

OR as a profession involves:

  1. Special training in its philosophy, methodology and techniques.
  2. Its use (skills aspect) in solving operations problems.
  3. Its ethics, which is maintaining scientific objectivity, by always tackling situation factually and by reasoning with such facts organized into modes.
  4. Its organs, which are professional bodies.

OR is thus an efficient way of tackling problems. This way of seeking to achieve best possible results in situations clearly in the interest of modern society. OR professional bodies should be vanguards in popularizing OR and promoting its use.

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES IN OR

Career opportunities in OR abound in all fields of endeavour and in every area and sector of the society and the economy. This is so because OR is fundamentally about the solving of operational problems and about offering a basis for efficient decision-making and management generally. In which case whenever and wherever there are objectives to be achieved and desire to do so efficiently, OR has a role to play by scientifically analyzing the system, or operation to be carried out.

Specific aspect of OR that offers ample career opportunities includes:

  1. General application of science to solving operational problems of organizations and even individuals.
  2. Skills in using specific techniques of OR such as simulation, mathematical programming, conflict management techniques, etc.
  3. Addressing problem generally through the use of OR and marketing in all sectors of the economy and sections of the society.
  4. Teaching OR formally in Universities and Polytechnics and informally at training workshops

ACTION PLAN OF THE INSTITUTE

The Institute sets out, generally, in the following directions:

  1. Consummating and strengthening the organizational framework of the Institute. In this regard, council as the policy-making body has been constituted, while a Management structure has been put in place. A functional office complex as the Headquarters is already in operation, while the introduction ceremonies so far conducted are part of the consummation of the organization framework.
  2. Promoting the development of OR suitable for Nigeria by promoting research, seminars and conferences in this regard.
  3. Promoting OR use in Nigeria especially through establishing training centres on OR at professional Diploma and Postgraduate Diploma levels.
  4. Advancing the ethics of the profession of OR.

Beneficiaries to target in this regard are individual and organizations and institutions of the public and private sectors, and the young ones who may want to choose OR as a career.

 
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