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Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences

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Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) is an international society for practitioners in the fields of operations research (OR) and management science. It was established in 1995 with the merger of the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA) and The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS).


  • Overview 1
  • INFORMS Topics 2
    • Governance 2.1
    • Membership 2.2
    • Publications 2.3
    • Awards 2.4
    • Other activities 2.5
  • References 3
  • External links 4


According to INFORMS constitution, the Institute's purpose is to improve operational processes, decision-making, and management by individuals and organizations through operations research, the management sciences, analytics and related scientific methods. The constitution provides that the mission of INFORMS is to lead in the development, dissemination and implementation of knowledge, basic and applied research and technologies in operations research, the management sciences, analytics and related methods of improving operational processes, decision-making, and management. To those ends INFORMS declared that it would strive to: a. support efforts to extend, unify and integrate related branches of knowledge and practice; b. support the free interchange of information relevant to the purposes of the Institute; c. promote greater use of this knowledge by all organizations and the general public; d. encourage the education of students and the continuing education of practitioners in these fields of knowledge; e. promote high professional standards and integrity in all work done in the field.

Legal Status

INFORMS is organized, and must operate, exclusively for scientific or educational purposes as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. The Institute serves the scientific and professional needs of operations research managements science, and analytics educators, investigators, scientists, students, managers, and consultants, as well as the organizations they serve.


INFORMS publishes 13 scholarly journals about operations research and analytics, including the first and second journals in their class, according to Journal Citation Reports (2005).

The Institute organizes national and international conferences for academics, professionals, and members of the society's special interest groups. It also serves as a focal point for OR and analytics professionals by facilitating communication among members of the society, with members of other professional societies, and with their clients.

INFORMS is a member of the International Federation of Operational Research Societies and the host of the open-source initiative for operations research, COIN-OR. Operations research applies advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions.


Before ORSA and TIMS merged, there was a contest to coin a name for the new organization. Robert Saltzman and Richard Bradford came up with the acronym.[1]



INFORMS is governed by a board of directors[1] which includes a president, past president, president-elect, secretary, treasurer, executive director, and vice presidents for chapters and fora, education, information technology, international activities, meetings, membership and professional recognition, practice, publications, sections and societies, and marketing and outreach.


INFORMS members are operations researchers and analytics professionals who work for universities, corporations, consulting groups, military, the government, and health care. Many are academics who teach operations research, management science, analytics and the quantitative sciences in engineering and business schools. INFORMS members live in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and throughout the world. INFORMS includes masters- and Ph.D.-level members, as well as students working toward their degrees: Membership levels are regular member, student member, and retired member.

The INFORMS Roundtable[2] includes institutional members from operations research departments at major organizations.

Members of INFORMS specialize in operations research and analytics sub-fields such as applied probability, artificial intelligence, decision analysis, financial engineering, information systems, linear programming, logistics, non-linear programming, optimization, simulation, stochastic programming, and yield management.


INFORMS[3] publishes scholarly journals, including its flagship journals Operations Research and Management Science; and INFORMS Transactions on Education, an online-only, open-access journal.[4]

INFORMS also publishes OR/MS Today, the membership magazine;[5] Analytics, the industry magazine; and OR/MS Tomorrow, the student membership magazine[6]

Further publications include Topics in OR (a book series) and INFORMS Cases and Teaching Materials

The list of 13 INFORMS journals also includes:

All INFORMS scholarly journals are peer-reviewed.


INFORMS bestows many prizes[7] to recognize superior achievements in practice, publishing, and teaching, and to acknowledge those who have made outstanding contributions to the profession. Prizes include:

  • INFORMS Fellow "Fellows are examples of outstanding lifetime achievement in operations research and the management sciences. They have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments and made significant contributions to the advancement of OR/MS over a period of time".
  • Decision Analysis Publication Award
  • Frank P. Ramsey Medal, the highest award of the Decision Analysis Society
  • Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences,[8] which recognizes outstanding high-level OR practice
  • The Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research Practice
  • Frederick W. Lanchester Prize for the best contribution to OR published in English
  • George B. Dantzig Dissertation Award
  • George E. Kimball Medal for distinguished service
  • George E. Nicholson Student Paper Competition
  • INFORMS Expository Writing Award
  • INFORMS Impact Prize for contributions that have had a broad impact on the field
  • INFORMS President's Award to an individual for important contributions to INFORMS and the profession
  • INFORMS Prize, for effective integration of OR into an organization
  • INFORMS Prize for the Teaching of OR/MS Practice
  • John von Neumann Theory Prize
  • Philip McCord Morse Lectureship Award
  • The Omega Rho Distinguished Lecture Series

INFORMS communities/subdivisions also honor members, with over 35 prizes and awards.

Other activities

  • Career:[9]

INFORMS offers analytics certification to help advance the use of analytics by setting agreed upon standards for the profession and promoting continued competency for practitioners.

INFORMS has a Job Placement Service that matches employers and members who are job seekers. The yearly highlight takes place at the society’s annual meeting, where employers have the opportunity to meet job candidates and members are able to advance their careers.

  • Education:[10]

INFORMS sponsors many educational and training programs, including the podcasts and videos, INFORMS Forum on Education, Junior Faculty Interest Group Forum, case and teaching materials, multimedia resources, a Speakers Program, a listing of OR graduate and undergraduate programs, and a teacher training program for high school math teachers.

  • INFORMS Communities:[11]

Also known as subdivisions - are important, independent bodies that unite members into local regional groups, focus on special technical interests, and provide the backbone for the organization. Many members belong to more than one group. Communities sponsor conferences, regular meetings, sessions at annual meetings, educational programs, and awards; some provide professional journals and resource publications. INFORMS communities include societies, special interest sections, local and student chapters, forums, a special student honors society, and a Round Table whose members are representatives of OR departments at major organizations.

  • Meetings:[12]

Meetings provide scholars and practitioners with the opportunity to exchange information, ideas, and perspectives with their colleagues. INFORMS offers an annual meeting, a conference on the practice of analytics and operations research, international meetings, a summer workshop on the teaching of management science, and special interest group meetings.

  • Public Awareness:[13]

INFORMS explains the field of analytics and operations research and its tremendous potential impact through an active public relations program and a website, which includes examples, case studies, and a directory of consultants.


  1. ^ INFORMS: The Institute For Operations Research and The Management Sciences
  2. ^ INFORMS Roundtable
  3. ^ INFORMS: The Institute For Operations Research and The Management Sciences
  4. ^ INFORMS Transactions on Education
  5. ^ OR/MS Today,
  6. ^ OR/MS Tomorrow
  7. ^ INFORMS: The Institute For Operations Research and The Management Sciences
  8. ^ Operations Research| How to Start Using It
  9. ^ Job Placement Service
  10. ^ INFORMS: The Institute For Operations Research and The Management Sciences
  11. ^ INFORMS communities
  12. ^ INFORMS meetings
  13. ^ Operations Research: The Science of Better

Additional references are:

  • Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • O*Net Online, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration
  • BNet What is Operations Research?
  • "Operation Everything: It Stocks Your Grocery Store, Schedules Your Favorite Team's Games, and Helps Plan Your Vacation. The Most Influential Academic Discipline You've Never Heard Of." Boston Globe, June 27, 2004
  • "Optimal Results: IT-powered advances in operations research can enhance business processes and boost the corporate bottom line." Computerworld, November 20, 2000

External links

  • INFORMS homepage
  • The Science of Better, a website explaining operations research
  • Science of Better Podcast interviews
  • Chinese-language INFORMS homepage
  • High-School Operations Research for teachers and students
  • History of INFORMS and operations research
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