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Operations Research (OR) is the professional discipline that deals with the application of scientific method to decision making, especially to the allocation of resources. The aim of OR is to gain an understanding of complex situations, and thereby suggest ways to predict system behaviour and improve system performance. This work usually entails developing and manipulating mathematical and computer models of complex systems composed of people, machines, and their operating procedures. OR draws ideas freely from other fields such as mathematics, psychology, economics, industrial engineering, and system engineering.

OR provides a wide variety of career opportunities in academia, industry, or the public service and many OR professionals move on into management. Today thousands of individuals pursue careers in OR and related professions, addressing a wide variety of issues in communications systems, transportation, marketing, finance, inventory planning and manufacturing.

In most countries where OR is established as a professional and academic activity there is also a professional society for OR practitioners and academics. In Australia, the Australian Society for Operations Research (ASOR) was founded on 1st January, 1972 and has about 400 members nationwide. ASOR, like other national societies is affiliated to the International Federation of Operational Research Societies (IFORS), and there are also a number of regional groupings within IFORS. For instance, ASOR belongs to APORS, (Asian Pacific Operational Research Societies,) while national societies in Europe belong to Association of European Operational Research Societies (EURO). The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) serves the scientific and professional needs of OR/MS investigators, scientists, students, educators, and managers in the USA.

ASOR serves the professional needs of OR analysts, managers, students and educators by publishing a National Bulletin and National and Chapter Newsletters. The Society also serves as a focal point for operations researchers to communicate with each other and to reach out to other professional societies.