What is Operations Research and Industrial Engineering (ORIE)?

Operations research and industrial engineering (ORIE) focuses on how we can use math to help people and organizations make better decisions. Fundamentally, we are united by the common mathematical toolbox that we use to model systems that arise in the real world and figure out how to design and operate them in order to achieve more desirable outcomes.

Core ORIE methods include optimization, simulation, stochastic processes, decision trees, and game theory. We also have ample overlap in methods with other quantitative disciplines such as statistics, data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and economics.

The ORIE skillset is highly general and can be applied to decision-making problems in a wide variety of application domains. Here are just a few examples of different application domains and research questions that ORIE students and faculty members are exploring within them:

  • Energy — How can we optimally design an infrastructure network for capturing CO2 at large industrial facilities, transporting it via pipelines, and sequestering it underground?
  • Disaster Logistics — When a hurricane is approaching, how can we evacuate hospital patients from the vulnerable region as efficiently as possible given the vehicles available to transport them?
  • Machine Learning — Can we cluster big data sets more reliably by developing clustering algorithms that are less sensitive to outliers?
  • Healthcare — How can we schedule nurses to shifts to match their preferences as closely as possible while complying with all applicable regulations and considering fairness?
  • Climate Change — How much should society reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, given that doing so would entail both costs and benefits?
  • Manufacturing — How can we best monitor a semiconductor manufacturing process, diagnose errors, and implement corrections in real time?

If you like math and want to put it to use to solve complex, real-world problems, then the ORIE program at UT Austin could be the perfect place for you! We hope that you will enjoy learning more about our program and people by visiting the other pages of this website.