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From the Director

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Adrian Lewis
ORIE Director Adrian Lewis

These are exciting times in the world of Operations Research, especially at Cornell.

Operations Research has always been driven by topics of utmost economic importance. Decades of research have provided a rich structure of theories and methodologies aimed at identifying, formulating, and solving key organizational and industrial problems. Until now, however, the development of theory has outstripped applications because of limited technologies.

Strides in information technology have placed Operations Research at a turning point, in position to have great impact through the efficiencies it devises. Operations Research, in other words, has come of age. Simply to remain competitive,businesses cannot afford to be without Operations Research expertise.

The future is wide open for students of rigorous Operations Research programs of all levels, from Bachelor degree programs through the Ph.D. A primary aim of these programs is to foster flexible thinking, as well as to instill facility with a broad range of concepts and techniques. Flexible thinking is integral to Operations Research.

Flexible thinking does not come from textbooks. It grows only with careful nurturing from teachers who have repeatedly experienced major influence through their own creativity.

Nowhere is there an Operations Research faculty whose collective research preeminence exceeds Cornell’s. For decades, the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering has been at the cutting edge in driving fundamental new research and in extending the realm of applications. In the School, extremely creative and flexible thinking is ubiquitous.

Commonplace, too, is dedication to teaching. The devotion to students at all levels is outstanding, truly a hallmark of the School. We know our students have the talents to make dramatic differences in the world. We feel deeply responsible for equipping them appropriately.

Especially at the undergraduate and Master of Engineering levels, the School is educating the future "knowledge engineer," who will be:

  • Adept at weighing impact broadly, using a wide array of decision concepts and tools, and possessing expertise in many functional areas (including strategic planning, design engineering, finance, manufacturing, marketing, and human resources).
  • Adept at synthesizing and analyzing for dynamic, complex, and ambiguous environments.
  • Adept at creating flexible options—modularized solutions that can be optimized to the individual application, and integrated solutions that work across the enterprise.

The School’s Ph.D. program in Operations Research is widely known to be second to none, giving incoming students a mathematically rigorous foundation that is invaluable both in performing fundamental research and in inventing new applications. The faculty considers students in the program to be colleagues, and always welcome discussions, regardless of when insight or discouragement strikes. We want the next generation of researchers to be the most creative yet.

The School’s outstanding students and faculty ensure that Cornell will continue to retain preeminence in the world of Operations Research. Advances in information technology and escalating economic change make widespread deployment of Operations Research essential. These are indeed exciting times for Operations Research at Cornell.