The field is making a larger than anticipated impact in medicine and is central to telecommunications, the study observes.
Operations research ("OR") examines an organization's operations and uses mathematical models, computer models, and other scientific and analytical approaches to find better ways of doing them. Operations researchers work in industry, government, health care, and the military.
Terms coined by operations researchers have found widespread use in business and science, the study notes.
"What is striking is the extent to which the words optimization and simulation were used," says Frederic H. Murphy, School of Business and Management, Temple University. "Two of the most defining words for our technologies have entered the mainstream."
He also concludes that the study of waiting lines or "queues," another operations research focus, is critical in inventions.
"From the number of hits for queue," he writes, "I gather that a lot of effort is going into managing waits of people, bits, packets, and so forth."
The findings appear in "The Occasional Observer: www.uspto.gov, A New Source for What is Happening in Operations Research Practice" by Prof. Murphy. The Occasional Observer appears in the journal Interfaces, an INFORMS publication. The study can be found online at http://www.informs.org/Press/patents.pdf
In the years from 1996 to 2001, the Patent Office issued an average of 156,000 patents annually.
Surprises in Medical Field
Although the marriage of
Contact: Barry List
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences