The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) defines operations research as "the discipline of applying advanced analytical methods to help better decisions". In other words, operations research is a scientific field that utilizes mathematical models, optimization, statistics and algorithms in order to enable better decision making in the effective design, as well as operation of systems across many different scientific fields.
It is hard to imagine any science or engineering discipline, where optimization and/or decision theoretical models are not of major concern. Telecommunication systems, engineering design, logistics networks, manufacturing plants, biological and financial systems -to name a fewrely heavily on optimization approaches.For instance, an important design problem in structural mechanics is solved by finding the optimal solution of the corresponding equilibrium problem. Moreover, companies can reduce their costs significantly by applying optimization techniques in order to design and operate their supply chains.
The Optimization and Decision Theory research at Sabancı University mainly involves the development of algorithms based on linear, nonlinear, integer, dynamic and stochastic programming techniques. Frequently, optimal algorithms require excessive computational resources and time when applied to major problems encountered in real life. In such cases, it is crucial to develop effective heuristic algorithms by exploiting the problem structure. Hence, research in this Group employs both classical heuristics and metaheuristics, which have become increasingly popular recently.
The set of problems studied in the group includes, but is not restricted to: machine tool selection, energy efficient routing in wireless sensor and ad hoc networks, global optimization, constrained optimization and project scheduling.