operational research

The practice of overbooking has made uncomfortable headlines lately. But how do airlines decide how many tickets to sell for a flight? Here's the maths.

How advanced mathematical techniques save lives.
It's not that long ago that all you needed to run an airline was a few planes and some competent pilots. But now, with more of us zipping around the globe every year and the advent of no frills airlines, keeping an airline competitive has become a complicated business. Christine Currie explains how your airfare is calculated.
As customers will tell you, overcrowding is a problem on trains. Fortunately, mathematical modelling techniques can help to analyse the changing demands on services through the day. Tim Gent explains.
Helen Thompson works for Sainsbury's Supermarkets as a Sales Forecasting Manager. The Plus team paid her a visit at Drury House on the banks of the Thames in London.
The previous feature, "Mathematics, marriage and finding somewhere to eat" investigated the problem of finding the best potential partner from a fixed number of potential partners using a technique known as "optimal stopping". Inevitably, mathematicians and mathematical psychologists have constructed other models of the problem...