In this section, you can find out what ORSAs learn about probability theory and how we apply that approach towards using probability models in some of our analyses. Most operations research programs start out with a course on probability theory. The image in the header, for example, shows the equation for Baye’s theorem, a Markov chain, a decision tree, and a Venn diagram. These are just a small sample of the myriad of probability models available to an ORSA.

Although colleges teach probability and statistics as one course at the undergraduate level, there is a clear distinction between these two disciplines that an ORSA must understand. For an excellent short explanation of these differences, see this article from Stony Brook University. To gain an intuition for probability theory, you will need to have a good foundation in the mathematics of counting, discrete mathematics, and calculus.