TRAFFIC FLOW: Scientists studying traffic's ebb and flow can create complex mathematical models in order to simulate the actual patterns that emerge on roads. These models are an important part of efforts to improve the placement or timing of various items like traffic lights, additional lanes, and more. The scientists use insights developed from sources as diverse as the physics of fluid flow and human reaction time in order to build better models and glean insights from them.
ABOUT OPERATIONS RESEARCH: Who plans routes for delivery drivers? Who double-checks to make sure businesses are using resources efficiently? Who designs strategies to limit the amount of time air travelers spend in line? Operations researchers use analytical processes to examine methods and techniques used in everything from train scheduling to football play calling. They may cover topics within a wide variety of well-known disciplines, often using computer-based models and statistics to improve decision-making.
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, and the American Physical Society contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.