ORF 105 / EGR 106

The Science and Technology of Decision Making


An individual makes decisions every day. In addition, other people are making decisions that have an impact on the individual. In this course we will consider both how these decisions are made and how they should be made. In particular, we will focus on the use of advanced computing and information technology in the decision-making process.

ORF 245 / EGR 245

Fundamentals of Statistics


Sanjeev Ramesh Kulkarni

A first introduction to probability and statistics. This course will provide background to understand and produce rigorous statistical analysis including estimation, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing and regression and classification. Applicability and limitations of these methods will be illustrated using a variety of modern real world data sets and manipulation of the statistical software R. Prerequisite: MAT 201 concurrently or equivalent. Two 90 minute lectures, one precept.

ORF 307 / EGR 307



Bartolomeo Stellato

This course focuses on analytical and computational tools for optimization. We will introduce least-squares optimization with multiple objectives and constraints. We will also discuss linear optimization modeling, duality, the simplex method, degeneracy, interior point methods and network flow optimization. Finally, we will cover integer programming and branch-and-bound algorithms. A broad spectrum of real-world applications in engineering, finance and statistics is presented. Prerequisite MAT 202 or 204. Two 90 minute lectures, one precept.

ORF 309 / EGR 309 / MAT 380

Probability and Stochastic Systems


Ramon van Handel

An introduction to probability and its applications. Topics include: basic principles of probability; Lifetimes and reliability, Poisson processes; random walks; Brownian motion; branching processes; Markov chains. Prerequisite: MAT 201, 203, 216, or instructor's permission. Three lectures, one precept.

ORF 311

Stochastic Optimization and Machine Learning in Finance


John Michael Mulvey

A survey of quantitative approaches for making optimal decisions under uncertainty, including decision trees, Monte Carlo simulation, and stochastic programs. Forecasting and planning systems are integrated in the context of financial applications. Machine learning methods are linked to the stochastic optimization models. Prerequisites: ORF 307 or MAT 305, and ORF 309. Two 90-minute classes, one precept.

PSY 322 / ORF 322

Human-Machine Interaction


Alain Lucien Kornhauser, Philip Nicholas Johnson-Laird, Joel Cooper

A multidisciplinary study of the fundamentals of human-machine interactions from both the human psychology/philosophy side and the machine engineering and design side. Philosophical, psychological, and engineering models of the human processor. Functional differences between people and machines, the nature of consciousness and intelligence, massively parallel computing and neural networks, and the concept of resonant synergism in human-machine interactions. Two 90-minute lectures; three laboratories during semester.

ORF 335 / ECO 364

Introduction to Financial Mathematics


Financial Mathematics is concerned with designing and analyzing products that improve the efficiency of markets, and create mechanisms for reducing risk. This course develops quantitative methods for these goals: the notions of arbitrage and risk-neutral pricing in discrete time, specific models such as Black-Scholes and Heston in continuous time, and calibration to market data. Credit derivatives, the term structure of interest rates, and robust techniques in the context of volatility options will be discussed, as well as lessons from the financial crisis. Prerequisites: ORF 309, ECO 100, and MAT 104. Two lectures, one precept.

ORF 350

Analysis of Big Data


This course is a theoretically oriented introduction to the statistical tools that underpin modern machine learning, whose hallmarks are large datasets and/or complex models. Topics include a rigorous analysis of dimensionality reduction, a survey of models ranging from regression to neural networks, and an analysis of learning algorithms.. Prerequisites: Probability at the level of ORF 309. Statistics at the level of ORF 245. Linear Algebra at the level of MAT 202 or permission of instructor. Two lectures, one precept.

ORF 360

Decision Modeling in Business Analytics


This is an introductory course to decision methods and modeling in business and operations management. The course will emphasize both mathematical decision-making techniques, as well as popular data-based decision models arising from real applications. Upon completion of this course students will have learned analytical tools for modeling and optimizing business decisions. From a practical perspective, this will be a first course that gives an overview of advanced operations research topics including revenue management, supply chain management, network management, and pricing.

ORF 363 / COS 323

Computing and Optimization for the Physical and Social Sciences


Amir Ali Ahmadi

An introduction to several fundamental and practically-relevant areas of modern optimization and numerical computing. Topics include computational linear algebra, first and second order descent methods, convex sets and functions, basics of linear and semidefinite programming, optimization for statistical regression and classification, and techniques for dealing with uncertainty and intractability in optimization problems. Extensive hands-on experience with high-level optimization software. Applications drawn from operations research, statistics and machine learning, economics, control theory, and engineering.

ORF 374

Special Topics in Operations Research and Financial Engineering


A course covering special topics in operations research or financial engineering. Subjects may vary from year to year.

ORF 375

Independent Research Project


Alain Lucien Kornhauser

Independent research or investigation resulting in a substantial formal report in the student's area of interest under the supervision of a faculty member. Open to sophomores and juniors.

ORF 376

Independent Research Project


Alain Lucien Kornhauser

Independent research or investigation resulting in a substantial formal report in the student's area of interest under the supervision of a faculty member. Open to sophomores and juniors.

ORF 387



Elizaveta Rebrova

This course showcases how networks are widespread in society, technology, and nature, via a mix of theory and applications. It demonstrates the importance of understanding network effects when making decisions in an increasingly connected world. Topics include an introduction to graph theory, game theory, social networks, information networks, strategic interactions on networks, network models, network dynamics, information diffusion, and more. Prerequisite: ORF 309 or permission of instructor. Two lectures, one precept.

ORF 401

Electronic Commerce


Alain Lucien Kornhauser

Electronic commerce, traditionally the buying and selling of goods using electronic technologies, extends to essentially all facets of human interaction when extended to services, particularly information. The course focuses on both the software and the hardware aspects of traditional aspects as well as the broader aspects of the creation, dissemination and human consumption electronic services. Covered will be the physical, financial and social aspects of these technologies. Two 90-minute lectures, one 50-minute precept.

ORF 405

Regression and Applied Time Series


Jason Matthew Klusowski

An introduction to popular statistical approaches in regression and time series analysis. Topics will include theoretical aspects and practical considerations of linear, nonlinear, and nonparametric modeling (kernels, neural networks, and decision trees). Prerequsites: ORF 245 and ORF 309 or instructor's permission. Two lectures, one lab, and one precept.

ORF 406

Statistical Design of Experiments


Major methods of statistics as applied to the engineering and physical sciences. The central theme is the construction of empirical models, the design of experiments for elucidating models, and the applications of models for forecasting and decision making under uncertainty. Three lectures. Prerequisite: 245 or equivalent.

ORF 407

Fundamentals of Queueing Theory


This is an introduction to the stochastic models inspired by the dynamics of resource sharing. Topics discussed include: early motivating communication systems (telephone and computer networks); modern applications (call centers, healthcare operations, and urban planning for smart cities); and key formulas (from Erlang blocking and delay to Little's law). We also review supporting stochastic theories like equilibrium Markov chains along with Markov, Poisson and renewal processes. Prerequisite: ORF 309 or equivalent.

ORF 409

Introduction to Monte Carlo Simulation


William Alfred Massey

An introduction to the uses of simulation and computation for analyzing stochastic models and interpreting real phenomena. Topics covered include generating discrete and continuous random variables, stochastic ordering, the statistical analysis of simulated data, variance reduction techniques, statistical validation techniques, nonstationary Markov chains, and Markov chain Monte Carlo methods. Applications are drawn from problems in finance, manufacturing, and communication networks. Students will be encouraged to program in Python. Office hours will be offered for students unfamiliar with the language. Prerequisites: ORF 245 and ORF 309.

ORF 411 / ECE 411

Sequential Decision Analytics and Modeling


The management of complex systems through the control of physical, financial and informational resources. The course focuses on developing mathematical models for resource allocation, with an emphasis on capturing the role of information in decisions. The course seeks to integrate skills in statistics, stochastics and optimization using applications drawn from problems in dynamic resource management which tests modeling skills and teamwork. Prerequisites: ORF 245, ORF 307 and ORF 309, or equivalents. Two lectures, one precept.

ORF 417

Dynamic Programming


An introduction to stochastic dynamic programming and stochastic control. The course deals with discrete and continuous-state dynamic programs, finite and infinite horizons, stationary and nonstationary data. Applications drawn from inventory management, sequential games, stochastic shortest path, dynamic resource allocation problems. Solution algorithms include classical policy and value iteration for smaller problems and stochastic approximation methods for large-scale applications. Prerequisites: 307 and 309.

ORF 418

Optimal Learning


Emma Hubert

This course develops several methods that are central to modern optimization and learning problems under uncertainty. These include dynamic programming, linear quadratic regulator, Kalman filter, multi-armed bandits and reinforcement learning. Representative applications and numerical methods are emphasized. Prerequisite: ORF 309. Two lectures.

ORF 435

Financial Risk and Wealth Management


Ludovic Tangpi

This course covers the basic concepts of measuring, modeling and managing risks within a financial optimization framework. Topics include single and multi-stage financial planning systems. Implementation from several domains within asset management and goal based investing. Machine learning algorithms are introduced and linked to the stochastic planning models. Python and optimization exercises required. Prerequisites: ORF 245, ORF 309, ORF 335 or ECO 465 (concurrent enrollment is acceptable) or instructor's permission. Two lectures, one precept.

ORF 445

High Frequency Markets: Models and Data Analysis


Robert Almgren

An introduction to the theory and practice of high frequency trading in modern electronic financial markets. We give an overview of the institutional landscape and basic empirical features of modern equity, futures, and fixed income markets. We discuss theoretical models for market making and price formation. Then we dig into detailed empirical aspects of market microstructure and how these can be used to construct effective trading strategies. Course work will be a mixture of theoretical and data-driven problems. Programming environment will be a mixture of the R statistical environment, with the Kdb database language.

ORF 455 / ENE 455

Energy and Commodities Markets


Ronnie Sircar

This course is an introduction to commodities markets (energy, metals, agricultural products) and issues related to renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, and carbon emissions. Energy and other commodities represent an increasingly important asset class, in addition to significantly impacting the economy and policy decisions. Emphasis will be on the term structure of commodity prices: behavior, models and empirical issues. Prerequisite: ORF 335 or instructor permission. Two lectures, one precept.