Discussion
Started 22nd Jul, 2021

Which School is Operational Research carried out in?

Preliminary results of the EURO WISDOM survey to understand career paths in Operational Research (OR) by gender suggest OR is carried out in more Engineering departments than in Schools of Business.
Faculty survey respondents to date are affiliated to:
Engineering 34%
Business 30%
Computer Science 12%
Mathematics 10%
Research Centre/Other 15%
Which is that true for you?
We invite anyone working in OR (male/female/academic/practionner) to complete the 10 minute anonymous survey by Sunday 25th July 2021. The survey is here: https://ucdbusiness.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3UfzP74RaNRhbxQ
The EURO WISDOM Forum provides a platform to support, empower and encourage the participation of all genders in Operational Research within EURO. You'll find more details about the EURO WISDOM Forum here: https://www.euro-online.org/web/pages/1654/wisdom

Most recent answer

26th Jul, 2021
Juan Manuel Izar
Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Rioverde
In schools of business and engineering, mainly in this last

All replies (5)

23rd Jul, 2021
Prosper Ovuoraye
Federal University of Petroleum Resources
Operations research is a very vital and critical option in Mathematics, to the best of my knowledge. I have a colleague whom is majored in this area. However, it's also a vital part of social science and management in most schools in Nigeria.
I will conclude here that, depending on the curriculum design, most course outline in Statistics/Mathematics major in Operations research or Mathematical modeling. Engineering on the other hand, especially process fields also cuts across this area as an analytical tool to solving problems.
23rd Jul, 2021
Dewan Hafiz Nabil
Khulna University of Engineering and Technology
Operation Research(OR) is a core part of mathematics ,but some engineering subjects like industrial engineering has co-relation with OR. Many theories of OR are used in the field of engineering to optimize production cost ,maximizing profit and reducing the use of resources .
23rd Jul, 2021
David Eugene Booth
Kent State University
Given the sampling method here I would worry more about statistics than OR at this point. Have we forgotten GIGO? David Booth
23rd Jul, 2021
Annunziata Esposito Amideo
University College Dublin
Currently, the percentage difference between affiliation to Engineering and Business Schools seem to be not very wide and I think this is OK: probably, this shall also be looked at from a country perspective (e.g., there are countries where OR seems to be more affiliated to Engineering rather than Business Schools)
Can you contribute to the discussion?

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The immediately answer without too much thinking would possibly be: Yes, we need them, because not all criteria have the same importance, and this is true.
Fine, now what are criteria weights? They are subjective transcriptions of verbal ordinal expressions, also subjective. Analyzing this step, one realizes that they are totally arbitrary, and in addition, subject to the decision of a DM, which may be different from that of another DM,
Really, a very suspicious procedure and with no mathematical support.
We agree that weights are used to have a rank of criteria according to their relative importance. And now, the crucial question comes, ‘Importance relative to what?
If you analyze a fact such as for instance, the relative importance of quality and price regarding the purchase of a car, you can legitimately say, that in this respect, and for YOU, quality is more important, without assigning a quantitative value to that preference, because it would be meaningless. Nobody can put a value to a feeling or a preference.
Observe, and this is important, that your preference must be related to something, in this case the car, because in other aspects you may prefer price to quality, according to your tastes and budget, for instance, in purchasing a necktie, and thus, it depends on the object of the comparison.
In case of criteria weights in MCDM, a practitioner may express these two postulates:
1) Weights are necessary to evaluate alternatives,
2) Due to the fact that not all criteria have the same importance.
Is this answer correct? NOT in the first statement, and YES in the second.
The reason of the fallacy of the first statement, is that the relative importance between criteria is NOT associated with alternatives evaluation, unless they are objective weights derived from entropy.
Probably you will say: But these entropy weights also establish a ranking between criteria, as subjective weights do, then, why the evaluation of alternatives is valid for entropy and not from preferences?
Because Shannon Theorem, the base for Information Technology, as we know it today, demonstrates that to evaluate something you must have capacity for evaluation, you need a certain quantity of information, and it depends on the discrimination of the values of a criterion that is, it is an attribute. As an analogy, the actual system is equivalent to asking a 5 years old child to evaluate different cars.
He/she, at that age, does not have on cars the amount of information that an adult possesses.
This amount of information in a criterion can be found by entropy; this is the great discovery of Shannon, and he even developed a formula to compute it.
If in a criterion the different values corresponding to the alternatives are very similar or close, the entropy or uncertainty is high, the quantity of information low, and thus, this criterion has a low significance for evaluating alternatives.
The best example are dice. The uncertainty about which number will appear when casting, is 100%, because all of them have the same values (1/6); the entropy will be 1, and the quantity of information 0.
Since weighting does not have this property, it can’t be used for evaluation.
Therefore, why to spend thousands of hours trying to find out how to have better subjective weights, when they are useless, at least for MCDM?
I am not claiming that I am right but at least is what I get based on reasoning and science.
Therefore, if subjective weights are inappropriate to evaluate alternatives, why are we using them?
I would very much like if some of my colleagues in RG can add something else, supporting or not, my arguments. As a bottom line, I believe that weights, other that entropy ones, should not be used in MCDM methods. I am not saying that we should consider all criteria with the same importance, because it is not true most of the times, thus, we should use either entropy weights, or allow the method determine by itself the importance of each criterion, based on inputted data, as is done in Linear Programming.
I will be more than glad to discuss this issue, but please, with arguments, not with simple words or masking references about other authors wrote.

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Euro Excellence in Pratice Award (2018), a competition in Operational Research https://www.euro-online.org/web/pages/209/excellence-in-practice-award-eepa https://www.euro-online.org/web/pages/1667/previous-finalists-and-winners
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