Operations Research

Operations Research (OR) deals with making the `best' decision when confronted with numerous choices as well as a variety of constraints in a large scale problem. Some examples of typical problems would be minimizing operating costs in a large hospital while maintaining quality service to patients, finding the shortest route for a delivery truck which has a number of stops, or scheduling jobs on a large construction project to finish in the shortest possible time. The problems are represented by mathematical models and various algorithms are used to find the optimal solution. Because of the magnitude of these problems, computers are almost always needed to execute the algorithm.

To encourage students to study OR and seek employment in this field, the Canadian Operational Research Society (CORS) offers a Diploma in Operational Research to those students who have completed a prescribed set of courses. To get some idea of the employment opportunities for someone with a CORS diploma, here is some data from the CORS membership list. There are currently about 450 members of CORS, including about 130 students. CORS members work at over 50 different universities and over 60 different companies or agencies. Some of the larger groups of CORS members in Canada are at various universities. Outside of academia, the largest group is at the Department of National Defence (10 members). CORS members also work for government agencies (federal, provincial and municipal), international agencies, utility companies, transportation authorities, manufacturing companies, banks and trust companies, and, of course, consulting firms.

In the Department of Mathematics and Statistics one can satisfy the requirements for the CORS Diploma while completing an Honours degree. The courses required for the Diploma (which are in addition to the required courses for the degree) are listed below for the various programs. To receive the Diploma, you must also be a member of CORS. Student memberships are available. As a student member, you can participate in CORS meetings, which is a very good way to meet practioners in the field of OR and find out more about potential job opportunities. A membership in CORS listed on your resume will indicate to future employers your seriousness about a career in this field. You can find out more about CORS, including membership applications, through its web page www.cors.ca.

Students who have completed the required courses for the Diploma should contact York's Faculty Liaison to CORS, Professor H. Massam (N630 Ross; 736-5250, ext. 66099; massamh@mathstat.yorku.ca), who will check your transcript and notify CORS to grant the Diploma. For further information, please contact Professor Madras or visit the CORS web page. Please note that you will need to be a member of CORS before the Diploma is awarded; fortunately, it is easy and inexpensive to become a Student Member of CORS.

Course requirements for the CORS Diploma:

To obtain the CORS Diploma, students must have graduated from an Honours program and have completed the following courses with at least a B average. These courses may also be used to satisfy the degree requirements in the student's degree program at York. Please note that students must be members of CORS at the time that they receive the Diploma.

In addition, students are strongly encouraged to select additional courses from the following list in preparation for a career in OR:


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Last modified: November 7, 2008