Perspectives in Operational Research

Çağlar Güven,

Department of Industrial Engineering, Middle East Technical University


OR tookoff in the UK during World War II with the aim of winning the war against Nazi Germany. It started with problems such as where to deploy radar stations, how best to protect ship convoys, at what depth to explode charges in the ocean etc.. which were all well defined, single purpose problems and OR proved to be very successful in generating optimal solutions. After the war ended, the spectrum of problems widened to include almost anything to do with human activity. And it soon became clear that few of these were well defined, single purpose, straightforward problems and in many cases, the optimisation based approach of OR no longer appeared to work. This caused a call for contemplation and a search for a philosophical grounding to OR; at the very least to render the tool box of OR more productive if not for anything else. This talk will attempt to summarise insights from philosophical thought that has influenced the way OR and industrial engineering is practiced, or rather, ought to be practiced. (The presentation file will be ready for downloading on May, 12 at

Short Bio

Çağlar Güven received BSc and MSc degrees from the Electrical Engineering Department of METU in 1970 and worked in the industry as a computer systems analyst. He then received the MSc degree from the Mathematics Department of METU in 1972 and a PhD in Operational Research at Lancaster University in 1975. After spending a year at the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey, he joined the faculty of the Operational Research and Statistics Department of METU in 1976 before moving to the Industrial Engineering Department where he served till retirement and where he still continues to teach. He has served as chair of The Operational Research Society of Turkey during the term 1997-2001. Güven’s academic interest has been in energy-economy policy analysis using mathematical modelling, methodology of operational research and the theory and applications of systems thinking.


Friday, May 12, 2023, 4.00 pm - Zoom


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