Operations Research and Analytics
Advancing the design of complex systems to ensure safe, effective and reliable performance.
Design, prototype, test, break, improve. That’s the tried-and-true engineering model — for things like cars and planes. But some systems are so big and complex — a series of interdependent hydroelectric dams or miles of highway full of fast-moving autonomous cars, for example — that prototypes are not practical or cost effective. Typical challenges our Operations Research and Analytics researchers take on involve systems within systems that must work together seamlessly. Our researchers use the latest tools in systems modeling and data analytics, including machine learning and artificial intelligence, optimization, stochastic processes, and discrete-event and agent-based simulation.
Our faculty are experts in developing tools that simulate real-world infrastructure or applications to understand how component parts integrate to perform as a whole, as well as how to analyze and continually improve performance in real time once a system is operational. Working with such partners as the Port of Virginia and the Department of Defense, our faculty discover innovative ways to improve the structures of society that profoundly affect our economic and social well-being, from the manufacture and distribution of goods and services to national security.