2023-2024 / MQGE0001-6

Operations Research


45h Th

Number of credits

 Bachelor in business engineering5 crédits 
 Extra courses intended for exchange students (Erasmus, ...)5 crédits 
 Bachelor in mathematics6 crédits 
 Master in mathematics (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in mathematics (60 ECTS)5 crédits 


Jérôme De Boeck

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

Operations research relies on mathematical modeling to formulate and to analyze complex decision problems faced by individuals or organizations. OR models and techniques are found at the core of numerous IT tools used in everyday life and in managerial decision support systems, e.g., GPS-based routing systems, airline reservation and pricing software, production planning and scheduling systems, financial investment optimization systems, etc. In order to make a sensible use of OR tools, the manager needs to understand their full potential as well as their limitations. By getting the most out of these tools, companies may be able to develop innovative solutions and to improve their competitive position.

As such, the course directly relates to one of the main intended learning outcomes of the bachelor's programme in business engineering, namely, the ability to use analytical and IT tools in order to address management problems.

The course offers an introduction to some of the most successful models and techniques used in operations research:

  • linear programming: modeling, simplex method, sensitivity analysis, duality;
  • integer progamming: modeling, branch-and-bound algorithms;
  • queueing theory: basic features, arrival and service processes, M/M/c models;
  • network models; shortest paths, project scheduling.
As time allows, other topics (e.g., simulation) may also be touched upon.

The course is illustrated by numerous examples and applications from logistics, production management, finance, arising in various profit or non-profit service industries.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

Key Learning Outcomes addressed by the course:

  • Establish a strategy in order to optimize the value chain of an organization, taking into account its scientific and technological context, and demonstrating a critical mind and scientific precision.
  • Take charge of the everyday management of a company, an organization or a project, taking into account its scientific, technological and entrepreneurial dimensions, ensuring a good interface between its technological and managerial aspects, and capitalizing on the characteristics of a digitalized world.
  • Plan and implement the performance and quality control in a company, an organization or a project, using the appropriate analytical tools.  
More specifically, the students are expected to
  • Acquire familiarity with the mathematical modeling approach to decision-making, and with fundamental models and methods used in operations research.
  • Be able to reconstruct and to interpret the output of simple models.
  • Be able to recognize situations where OR techniques can be successfully applied and to formulate simple models.
  • Gain some understanding of the inherent limitations of the mathematical modeling approach.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Mathematics (linear algebra, matrix algebra), probability theory and statistics (concept of random variable, classical distributions, expected value, variance, etc.).

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

A1. Lectures.
A1. Readings (lecture notes and case studies).
A2. Numerical exercises. A2. Computer labs.
A3. Computer-based project: formulation and solution of a small case.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face lectures and practice sessions.

Recommended or required readings

Lecture notes:
Y. Crama, Operations Research, ULiège, 2020.

Additional material to be found on the virtual campus Lol@:

  • articles: A Business Executive's Guide to Modern OR, OR The Productivity Engine, Queueing at Vancouver Airport, etc.
  • slides
  • exercises

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam

Written work / report

Additional information:

In January, the assessment is based on 
- a written examination with open-ended questions (for 90% for the grade);
- a group project assigned during the course (for 10% of the grade).

In August-September, the assessment is based on a written examination only. The grades obtained for the group project cannot be carried over to the August-September session, nor from one academic year to the next.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

The course is taught in English.


Instructor: Jérôme De Boeck, jerome.deboeck@uliege.be
HEC Liège (Building N1) Room 301

Teaching assistant: Marie Baratto
HEC Liège (Building N1)  Room 334

Association of one or more MOOCs