Operational Research Methods

This information is for the 2014/15 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Giacomo Zambelli NAB 3.07


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Management Sciences. This course is available on the BSc in Accounting and Finance, BSc in Business Mathematics and Statistics, BSc in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics, BSc in Economics, BSc in Management and BSc in Statistics with Finance. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

This course was formerly known as OR202 Operational Research Methods.


Mathematics, Statistics and Probability Theory to the level of the courses Quantitative Methods and Introduction to Statistics for Accounting and Finance is required. In particular, students should have covered elementary distribution theory and the Poisson Process, and have an elementary knowledge of linear algebra. Students must be prepared to use computer packages when required. A further half-unit course MG313 Practical Optimisation Modelling which focuses on applications of Mathematical Programming for modelling real-world problems may be taken after or in conjunction with this course.

Course content

An introduction to all the main theoretical techniques of Operational Research. MG211.1 Operational Research Techniques. Some methodological aspects of operational research, and some of the main OR techniques, including: Critical Path Analysis, Production, Scheduling, Markov Chains, Queueing Theory, Replacement, Simulation, Stock Control, Dynamic Programming, Decision Theory, Theory of Games. MG211.2 Mathematical Programming. Linear programming: from the most basic introduction to sufficient conditions for optimality; duality; sensitivity of the solution; discovery of the solution to small problems by graphical methods, and proof of optimality by testing the sufficient conditions; solution to larger problems by using a computer package. The transportation programme: properties of solution, connection with graph theory, an algorithm for hand computation. Full lecture notes are provided.


20 hours of lectures and 18 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures, 13 hours of classes and 5 hours of computer workshops in the LT. 5 hours of lectures and 3 hours of classes in the ST.

Please note that lectures and classes are divided between the two parts of the course (MG211.1 and MG211.2), and that the computer workshops are optional help sessions.

Indicative reading

Recommended books are H G Daellenbach, J A George & D C McNickle, Introduction to Operations Research Techniques, Allyn & Bacon; A Ravindran, D T Philips & J J Solberg, Operations Research; H P Williams, Model Building in Mathematical Programming, Wiley; H P Williams, Model Solving in Mathematical Programming, Wiley; Wayne L Winston, Operations Research, Duxbury Press.

Students may also wish to consult R L Ackoff & M W Sasieni, Fundamentals of Operations Research; N A J Hastings, Dynamic Programming with Management Applications; F S Hillier & G J Lieberman, Operations Research; E Page, Queueing Theory in OR; M Sasieni, A Yaspan & L Friedman, Operations Research: Methods and Problems.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours and 15 minutes) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2013/14: Unavailable

Average class size 2013/14: Unavailable

Capped 2013/14: No

Lecture capture used 2013/14: Yes (MT & LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills