In the spring I'll be teaching introductory operations research at an undergraduate liberal arts college in the US. The target audience consists of applied math majors and students in our interdisciplinary mathematics/economics major. The students are required to have taken a semester-long probability course and I am required to cover queueing theory in addition to various programming methods (linear, nonlinear, dynamic, e.g.).

My background is in computational mathematics and so I'd like a book that makes early use of simulation and programming in assignments. The instructor in the past has used Hillier-Lieberman and it covers all the right topics but doesn't get to simulation until Chapter 20.


If you are teaching a class for the first time, there is something to be said about using the same text as the last instructor. But if you are interested in trying something new, you might like "Operations Research: A Practical Inroduction" by Carter and Price. It covers all of the topics that you listed, but more succinctly than Hillier. It doesn't get into the theory behind the algorithms in any depth, which is a weakness from some points of view and a strength in others. If you are really going to hit upon all of those topics in a single semester you will necessarily have to be somewhat hand-wavy about the theory.

I was originally going to say that the book is somewhat dated (my copy is from 2001 and no other editions are in print) but Amazon indicates that there will be a second edition coming out in just a couple of months.

Disclaimer: I haven't used this as a textbook in Operations Research. The text that I have used several times is "Deterministic Operations Research" by Rader (which is one of my favorite textbooks). Your requirements rule that out. Still, I have found the Carter-Price text to be quite readable and have occasionally used it as a source of ideas when preparing for lectures.

  • $\begingroup$ thank you for the recommendation. It looks promising; I requested an inspection copy. $\endgroup$ – ncr Sep 8 '17 at 1:44

As an undergraduate, I learned operations research out of Winston's book (cited below). Operations research is not my field but, at the time, it seemed like a fairly solid text. The exercises are (generally) illuminating, the text is readable, and it seems to cover the content that you require. On the downside it is quite heavy (as in, it weighs several pounds), and expensive.

Winston, Wayne L., Operations research. Applications and algorithms., Andover, Hempshire: Duxbury Press. 1100 p. (1994). ZBL0867.90079.


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