Operations Research

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Hanchen Huang, PhD
Professor and Chair

Nader Jalili, PhD
Professor and Associate Chair for Graduate Studies and Research

Emanuel S. Melachrinoudis, PhD
Associate Professor, Associate Department Chair, and Director of Operations Research Graduate Program

334 Snell Engineering Center
617.373.2740
617.373.2921 (fax)
Tess Waggett, Business Manager, tess.waggett@northeastern.edu

The Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) offers comprehensive research and educational programs for Master of Science (MS) students in operations research (OR). The field of OR deals with the application of scientific methods to decision making. Students have an opportunity to learn how to develop and solve mathematical and computer models of systems using optimization and statistical methods. OR graduates work in a wide variety of fields such as transportation, supply chain operations, communications and computer operations, manufacturing, finance, and healthcare. The OR program is offered jointly by MIE and the Department of Mathematics, thus achieving a unique balance of theory and application.

Master of Science Degree

To be eligible for admission to any of the MS degree programs, a prospective student must hold a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering, science, mathematics, or an equivalent field. Students in all master’s degree programs must complete a minimum of 32 semester hours of approved course work (exclusive of any preparatory courses) with a minimum GPA of 3.000 (see table below).  Students may pursue any program either on a full-time or part-time basis; however, certain restrictions may apply.

Degree Requirements Course Work Only With Project With Thesis
Required core courses 16 SH 16 SH 16 SH
Elective courses 16 SH 12 SH 8 SH
MEIE 6800 Technical Writing N/A 0 SH 0 SH
MEIE 6850 Research Seminar in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering N/A 0 SH 0 SH
Project/Thesis 0 SH 4 SH 8 SH
Minimum semester hours required 32 SH 32 SH 32 SH

Graduate Certificate Options

Students enrolled in a master's degree in Operations Research have the opportunity to also pursue one of 14 engineering graduate certificate options in addition to or in combination with the MS degree. Students should consult their faculty advisor regarding these options.

Gordon Institute of Engineering Leadership Option

Students have the opportunity to pursue the Gordon Engineering leadership program in combination with the MS degree.

Master of Science in Operations Research (MSOR)

Operations Research Courses

OR 5374. Special Topics in Operations Research. 4 Hours.

Offers topics of current interest in operations research. Prereq. Junior, senior, or graduate standing; restricted to students in the College of Engineering and the College of Science.

OR 6205. Deterministic Operations Research. 4 Hours.

Introduces the theory, computation, and application of deterministic models to represent industrial operations. Includes linear programming formulation and solution using spreadsheet and algebraic languages software; simplex, big-M, two-phase, revised simplex, and dual simplex algorithms for solving linear programs; introduction to the theory of simplex, fundamental insight, duality, and sensitivity analysis; transportation, assignment, and transshipment problems; shortest path, minimum spanning tree, maximum flow, minimum cost network flow problems and project networks; and discrete-state and continuous-state dynamic programming models and applications. Prereq. Knowledge of linear algebra; restricted to students in the College of Engineering and in the College of Science.

OR 6962. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions.

OR 6964. Co-op Work Experience. 0 Hours.

Provides eligible students with an opportunity for work experience. Prereq. ENCP 6000.

OR 6965. Co-op Work Experience Abroad. 0 Hours.

Offers eligible students an opportunity for work experience abroad. Prereq. Engineering students only.

OR 7230. Probabilistic Operation Research. 4 Hours.

Introduces the theory and use of stochastic models to represent industrial operations. Topics include discrete-state Markov chains and applications, state transitions and properties, first passage probabilities, steady-state analysis; absorbing chains and absorption probabilities; introduction to continuous-time Markov chains, transition rates and steady-state analysis; basic elements of queuing systems, birth-and-death process, and special cases; steady-state analysis of simple queuing models including M/M/s, M/M/s/K, M/M/s/N/N and their special cases; and queuing models involving nonexponential distributions. Prereq. IE 6200 with a grade of C or MATH 7241 with a grade of C; restricted to students in the College of Engineering and in the College of Science.

OR 7235. Inventory Theory. 4 Hours.

Considers the nature and characteristics of inventory systems. Examines techniques of constructing and analyzing mathematical models of inventory systems with a view toward determining operating policies for such systems. Prereq. OR 6205 with a grade of C; restricted to students in the College of Engineering and in the College of Science.

OR 7240. Integer and Nonlinear Optimization. 4 Hours.

Covers important families of mathematical programming problems and optimization methods. Discusses the cutting plane and the branch and bound algorithm for binary and mixed integer programming problems. Introduces nonlinear programming including unconstrained optimization, the Kuhn-Tucker conditions, gradient methods, and separable, quadratic, and geometric programming. Prereq. OR 6205 with a grade of C; restricted to students in the College of Engineering and in the College of Science.

OR 7245. Network Analysis and Advanced Optimization. 4 Hours.

Considers concepts of advanced linear programming and network flows. Includes theory of the simplex method, the revised simplex algorithm using LU factorization, and simplex for bounded variables and primal-dual methods; methods for solving large-scale models such as Danzig-Wolfe decomposition, Bender’s partitioning, Lagrangian relaxation, and subgradient optimization; computational complexity and Karmarkar’s algorithm; minimum cost network flows, network simplex, and generalized and multicommodity network flow problems; and special types of network problems including the traveling salesman, routing, network location, and reliability problems. Prereq. OR 6205 with a grade of C; restricted to students in the College of Engineering and in the College of Science.

OR 7250. Multi-Criteria Decision Making. 4 Hours.

Offers theory, computation, and application of multicriteria decision making. Topics include conventional and criterion cone parametric programming; approaches for generating efficient solutions, such as weighted sums, e-constraint, reduced feasible regions, and Fourier-Motzkin elimination; vector maximum algorithms and ADBASE software; multiattribute utility theory; goal programming; analytic hierarchy process and Expert Choice software; filtering techniques; multiple objective fractional programming; and interactive and Tchebycheff procedures. Prereq. OR 6205 with a grade of C; restricted to students in the College of Engineering and in the College of Science.

OR 7260. Constraint Programming. 4 Hours.

Covers the basic foundations of logic-based modeling and constraint programming, which includes logic of propositions, discrete variables and 0-1 inequalities, global constraints (all different, cardinality, cumulative, stretch, disjunctive, element, sum), consistency, constraint propagation, domain reduction, and search strategies (branching, backtracking). Constraint programming uses techniques from artificial intelligence, computer science, and operations research to solve combinatorial problems such as planning, scheduling, vehicle routing, the traveling salesman problem (TSP), staff rostering, and course timetabling. Also covers integrated constraint programming and mathematical programming methods such as Benders decomposition, column generation, relaxation, and local search methods. Prereq. OR 6205 with a grade of C; restricted to students in the College of Engineering and in the College of Science.

OR 7310. Logistics, Warehousing, and Scheduling. 4 Hours.

Explores the determination of needs and requirements for logistics within large-scale manufacturing and business environments. Examines warehousing and scheduling in the context of a business logistics system. Introduces managerial, mathematical, and software tools and techniques for modeling and optimizing various aspects of the business supply chain. Considers approaches to examining warehousing operations and the associated algorithms. Prereq. (a) IE 6200 with a grade of C or MATH 7241 with a grade of C and (b) OR 6205 with a grade of C; restricted to students in the College of Engineering and in the College of Science.

OR 7374. Special Topics in Operations Research. 4 Hours.

Offers topics of interest to the staff member conducting this class for advanced study.

OR 7440. Operations Research Engineering Leadership Challenge Project 1. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity to develop and present a plan for the demonstration of a marketable technology product or prototype with an operations-research focus. Constitutes the first half of a thesis-scale project in technology commercialization. Requires work/training with a sponsoring organization or employer to improve a process or develop a project that is of significant value to the organization and demonstrates a quantifiable market impact while enhancing the student’s technological and engineering depth and fostering the student’s leadership development. Prereq. Operations research/engineering leadership students only.

OR 7442. Operations Research Engineering Leadership Challenge Project 2. 4 Hours.

Continues OR 7440, a thesis-scale project in technology commercialization. Offers students an opportunity to demonstrate their development of a marketable technology product or prototype with an operations-research focus and produce a written documentary report on the project to the satisfaction of an advising committee. Requires work/training with a sponsoring organization or employer to improve a process or develop a project that is of significant value to the organization and demonstrates a quantifiable market impact while enhancing the student’s technological and engineering depth and fostering the student’s leadership development. Prereq. OR 7440; operations research/engineering leadership students only.

OR 7945. Master’s Project. 4 Hours.

Offers theoretical or experimental work under individual faculty supervision.

OR 7962. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions.

OR 7978. Independent Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers theoretical or experimental work under individual faculty supervision.

OR 7990. Thesis. 1-8 Hours.

Offers analytical and/or experimental work conducted under the direction of the faculty in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree. Requires first-year students to attend a graduate seminar program that introduces the students to the methods of choosing a research topic, conducting research, and preparing a thesis. Requires successful completion of the seminar program.

OR 7994. Thesis Continuation—Part Time. 0 Hours.

Continues thesis work conducted under the supervision of a departmental faculty member.

OR 7996. Thesis Continuation. 0 Hours.

Continues thesis work conducted under the supervision of a departmental faculty member.