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Proposal: Operations Research

UPDATE: Stack Exchange has made a final decision on the name of this site: It will be Operations Research. Further discussion below is welcome, but bear in mind that the site is now officially "OR".


I think it is time to make a decision about what the name of our site should be. As noted in this answer, Stack Exchange prefers to finalize the name of a site when the site reaches ~45% commitment (which we have passed — yay!), and well before the beta launch.

I propose that we use this thread to discuss and vote for site names:

  1. Each answer below should contain a proposed site name only. Feel free to add a new answer if you want to propose a new name.
  2. Use the comments below each answer for discussion about the names.
  3. Up-vote the (one) name that you prefer.

I am not sure exactly what the procedure is for finalizing a site name -- I assume this is done in coordination with SE staff -- but in any case, I do not believe our vote here will be binding.

Note: I realize that the naming question here on SE is a part of a much larger question about whether our field should call itself Operations Research or Management Science or Analytics or Industrial Engineering or Decision Science or Science of Better or ….. This debate has been going on for decades and we are not going to resolve it on this thread. Let’s try to keep the discussion focused on the name for the SE site, to the extent that that’s possible.

  • I would suggest including options which put forward the optimization / decision-making aspect of operations research in layman's terms - note that for every outsider the term Operations Research is very confusing. In particular we may risk putting too much emphasis on traditional application domains. – CMichael Apr 19 at 14:55
  • @CMichael feel free to post a suggested name below! – LarrySnyder610 Apr 19 at 14:56
  • Done - although I feel you should be the driving force for this topic ;-) – CMichael Apr 19 at 15:04
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    I think this should be a community effort. That's the SE way, anyway. :) – LarrySnyder610 Apr 19 at 15:06
  • One remark: you may want to remove the proposal "OR & Analytics" from the original question and leave proposals to answers? – CMichael Apr 19 at 15:08
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    I had the same thought, but unfortunately that link needs to be there so that this discussion shows up in the discussion section of the site itself. – LarrySnyder610 Apr 19 at 15:11
  • Just realized the same! My fault. – CMichael Apr 19 at 15:13
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11 Answers 11

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Proposed site name: Operations Research

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    This name is unambiguous and makes it immediately clear what the site is about, at least to people who are already familiar with the term OR. It lends itself to a nice URL, e.g., or.stackexchange.com. – LarrySnyder610 Apr 19 at 13:59
  • I would feat this to be too narrow-scoped and it may not attract and sustain a sufficiently broad community in the long-run. Also we want to make sure that there is good chance of people "stumbling" into the community when seeking information on questions that may pertain to OR but they are not even aware of this field. – CMichael Apr 19 at 14:46
  • @LarrySnyder610 Thats's a goof point about the URL. Folks should suggest URLs for the various site names. – Mark L. Stone Apr 20 at 21:39
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    @LarrySnyder610 Who will even know what "or" is? Perhaps optimization.stackexchange.com for a site called "Operations Research" Maybe that will help attract optimization questions from people who don't know what O.R. is. That URL could be used for either "Operations Research" or " Operations Research & Optimization". And it is easy to remember and with no confusing abbreviation required. – Mark L. Stone Apr 20 at 21:44
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    My view is that this name is too narrow. If our goal is to have the site serve a community of people who already know what OR is and who enjoy Q/A sites, then this name will work. I think that community is too small to support a Stack Exchange site, but I've been wrong before. – alerera Apr 22 at 22:35
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    @LarrySnyder610 you should mark this as the accepted answer, as the decision has been made. – James Jenkins May 10 at 12:32
6

Proposed site name: Operations Research & Optimization

A (lengthy) variant could be: Operations Research: Mathematical Modeling, Optimization and Decision-Making

The URL and community shorthand could then just be OR.

  • As noted in my other comments I am afraid that many non OR people just do not have a clear notion of what to expect from a community named without any qualifier / clarificatio of what OR is. This way we could potentially limit ourselves to an inside view. – CMichael Apr 19 at 15:05
  • I think either this or "Operations Research" is best. The reason to include " & Optimization" is to attract people wishing to post a question on optimization, thereby becoming, among other things, one stop shopping for all your optimization needs, even though people "in the know", i.e., O.R. people, already know that optimization is included in O.R. But with this title, optimization problems in science and engineering would be in scope, even if they are not O.R. problems/ – Mark L. Stone Apr 20 at 21:34
  • This could have URL optimization.stackexchange.com even though it would include O.R., so be bigger than optimization. – Mark L. Stone Apr 20 at 21:41
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    The fact that the OR community has been hesitant to define itself, in my opinion, is one of the reasons a public identity has failed to materialize around OR. Whatever we call the site, I believe we MUST define the label, even if it's broad, or this problem will continue. My opinion is OR is primarily about application of models to problems, whether they come from Analytics, Statistics, Simulation, Optimization, ML/AI, etc. – John Barbour Apr 22 at 1:07
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    @JohnBarbour: The use of math models to tackle practical problems is already called applied mathematics. Please clarify what you think makes OR a strict subset. To me, OR is just applied optimization: The entire chain from data collection, constraint identification and all the way to real-world implementation (robustness, safety, disruption handling etc.) of mathematical solutions. As example queue theory would be included only if you are looking to minimize waiting time or achieve similar optimizations. – Henrik A. Friberg Apr 22 at 11:12
  • @HenrikA.Friberg I don't believe OR to be a strict subset. I do believe it to be principally about 'APPLICATION', and may not even be specifically with the goal of optimization, for exaple only feasible schedules may be desired. You bring a good question though, how is applied math different from OR? – John Barbour Apr 23 at 13:31
4

Proposed site name: Operations Research and Analytics

  • INFORMS is pushing hard to include “Analytics” in the scope of what we do. Some people even argue that the two terms should be synonymous, though there is significant disagreement about whether OR is a subset of Analytics, Analytics is a subset of OR, OR = Analytics, or OR and Analytics are disjoint; see these survey results: pubsonline.informs.org/doi/abs/10.1287/inte.1110.0599 – LarrySnyder610 Apr 19 at 14:00
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    In my opinion a bigger concern about using “Analytics” in the site name is that there are already other SE sites that have analytics within their scope (CrossValidated, Data Science, and Artificial Intelligence, to name a few) and it might be hard to delineate which questions should go in those sites and which should go in ours. – LarrySnyder610 Apr 19 at 14:01
  • I think this is the best title for the site. "Operations Research" is broad enough to capture importantly applied areas in industrial/systems engineering, and adding "Analytics" provides the modern link that the field has to certain subfields of machine learning, high-dimensional statistics, etc. – alerera Apr 22 at 19:05
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Proposed site name: Operations Research and Prescriptive Analytics

  • This title was proposed shortly after the site was first launched. See this thread for the discussion: area51.meta.stackexchange.com/q/28585/201238 – LarrySnyder610 Apr 19 at 14:02
  • That was my proposal. it was meant as a compromise vs.removing analytics from the name altogether. I prefer "Operations Research" or "Operations Research & Optimization". – Mark L. Stone Apr 20 at 21:37
  • If the site title is only "Operations Research", my pessimistic prediction is that our community will remain unsustainably small for a Stack Exchange site. I also wonder if "Prescriptive Analytics" actually covers all of what we do these days with modern OR especially at the interface with statistical machine learning? – alerera Apr 22 at 19:03
  • @alerera I interpret "and" in the proposed name as meaning union, not intersection. So everything in Operations Research is covered. As for statistical machine learning, there is already Cross validated SE at stats.stackexchange.com . As well as datascience.stackexchange.com .And as seen at stats.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1057/… and area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/26434/machine-learning , there was a Machine Learning SE site which died in Beta 7 years ago.. – Mark L. Stone Apr 22 at 20:05
  • @MarkL.Stone Yes union is implied. What I don't like about this title is that "Prescriptive Analytics" is not the only area where OR methodology and thinking is having an impact in the broader field of analytics. – alerera Apr 22 at 22:41
  • @alerera I'd rather the site not have questions such as what are the best fonts to use for analytics dashboards. – Mark L. Stone Apr 23 at 1:32
  • @MarkL.Stone I take your point about this, but I think "best font"-type questions will be easy enough to flag as out of scope (and to point users to the Data Science SE site). By now, I think there is a strong enough understanding of descriptive/predictive/prescriptive analytics that most people will not interpret "analytics" as "data visualization". To me, the larger concern is the scope overlap between "our" version of analytics and the versions on CrossValidated, DS, and some other sites. – LarrySnyder610 Apr 23 at 1:41
0

Proposed site name: Mathematical Modeling, Optimization and Decision-Making

  • A proposal completely without OR - naturally the three sub-fields I picked are not exhaustive but chances are outsiders get a really good idea of what we ultimately do. – CMichael Apr 19 at 15:06
0

Proposed Site Name: Management Science

Management Science can be inferred as applying analytical methods to help those who run organizations take better decisions. And also, this name is not that uninviting!

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Proposed Name: Optimization and Analytical Decision Making

URL: optimization.stackexchange.com

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Operations Research: Optimization and Analytical Decision Making

URL: or.stackexchange.com

  • Because I agree with @CMichael that qualifiers are really important on stackexchange to gain enough attraction from people outside the OR community. "Operations Research" on its own is just too obscure for those outside the community. – Henrik A. Friberg Apr 22 at 19:07
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Operations Research and Mathematical Programming

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Proposed site name: Prescriptive Analytics

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I have absolutely no knowledge about the subject, is operations really a critical identifier? Would/should non-operational Research and Analytics questions be in scope?

Proposed Name: Research and Analytics

Which would probably be ResearchAnalytics.stackexchange.com

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