A Brief History of the Canadian Operational Research Society
In 1957, the Operations Research Society of Toronto was the only OR society in Canada. Yet there was by this time a substantial amount of OR work being done in Montreal. There also had been for many years a large and active group of Military OR professionals associated with the Defence Research Board in Ottawa. In order to participate in the affairs of a professional society those outside Toronto had to be members of either the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA) or The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS).
In September 1957 the international OR body, the International Federation of Operational Research Societies (IFORS) was created with Sir Charles Goodeve as Secretary. Sir Charles, a Canadian prominent in war time OR in Britain and then Director of the British Iron and Steel Research Association, was concerned that Canada had no national society that could join IFORS, and he asked Dr. Omond Solandt to try and form one.
Shortly after this, Dr. Hopkins of the Ottawa group sent out a letter suggesting that a Canadian Section of ORSA be formed. This was opposed by the Toronto group and also by the Montreal group.
On February 11th, 1958, Dr. Solandt held a meeting in Montreal hoping to settle the differences between the three Canadian factions and to form a National Society. Those invited were: Dr. D.B. DeLury, Dr. J. Kates, Dr. A.E. Paull and E.E. Sorensen from Toronto; P.J. Robinson, Dr. P.J. Sandiford, Dr. O.M. Solandt and P.B. Wilson from Montreal; and Dr. J.W. Abrams, Dr. N. Hopkins, C.E. Law, Dr. G. Lindsey, and Dr. W. Petrie from Ottawa. During the day, the participants aired their views and preferences and eventually adopted a set of proposals by Dr. Solandt for the establishment of a National Canadian Society. Dr. Solandt was elected provisional chairman and the tasks of drafting proposals for a constitution, fees, membership, affiliation etc, were assigned.
On April 14, 1958 the inauguration meeting was held in Toronto. After discussions, particularly on the subject of affiliation with other societies, the meeting agreed to proceed with the National Society. Dr. Solandt was elected President and Dr. Sandiford as Secretary. An election was held amongst those present to fill the remaining positions on the executive.
Membership:Letters were sent to a list of prospective members recommended by the founding members. Response was so successful that by the end of the first year the Society had 161 members, 77 of who had applied and been accepted as Technical (Full) Members.
The establishment of CORS in relationship to other societies:Negotiations were carried out with Dr. Hugh Miser, Secretary of ORSA, to establish a formal relationship. These were entirely successful and resulted in a 20% reduction in dues available to CORS members belonging to ORSA. Similar negotiations with the Operational Research Society (U.K.) lead to a 15% reduction in the price of the Quarterly to members of CORS. In 1964, the ORSA National Meeting and the CORS Annual Meeting were held as a joint conference in Montreal.
The establishment of a Section in Montreal:This was carried out by Dr. Sandiford.
Request for Membership in IFORS:This was granted on July 1st, 1959.
The Annual Meeting:The First Annual Meeting and Conference was held at the University of Toronto on May 7 and 8, 1959. Annual Meetings similar in nature have been held every year since.
The Bulletin:The major aims of the Society are the dissemination of information on operational research and the encouragement of exchanges between OR workers. It was early recognized that the regular publication of a newsletter or bulletin should be one of the principle activities of the Society. The Bulletin, originally published quarterly (starting in 1962), and sent to all members of the Society, was published monthly in 1988, and, today, is published quarterly.
The Journal:The publication of a technical Journal containing papers of professional interest has always been an aim of the Society. However, it did not prove to be feasible in the first two years largely for financial reasons. The Journal was finally launched in 1962-63 thanks to the efforts of K.J. Radford and the financial support of a number of business corporations. The journal was published three times a year and sent to all members of the Society, and to over 500 subscribers around the world.
Relationship with IPSC:Increasing interest was shown by CORS to participate in joint activities with the Information Processing Society of Canada (formerly the Computer Society of Canada). Symptomatic of this interest was the joint CORS-IPSC Conference in Vancouver in June, 1970.
INFOR:In 1971 the two societies (CORS/IPSC) joined forces to support an enlarged journal under the title INFOR. Initially, INFOR was published three times a year, but now is published quarterly (February, May, August, November). INFOR continued the volume numbering of the original CORS Journal.
Joint Conference:Also in 1971, the first International Conference on Operational Research as applied to Banking and Financial Institutions took place in Montreal, sponsored jointly by CORS and AFCET (Association Francaise).
SCITEC:In 1972 the Society became a member society of SCITEC - the Society of the Scientific, Engineering and Technology Community of Canada. SCITEC was founded in 1970 to promote more effective communication between scientists and the Canadian public and particularly the Federal Government. SCITEC is particularly concerned with science policy and in 1972 sponsored a survey of Canadian scientists and engineers to obtain their views on science policy. This survey was completed with a conference in Ottawa at which science policy was discussed and recommendations made to the Government. CORS, along with other member societies of SCITEC, presented a position paper to this conference.
New Sections:As the Society grew the following additional sections were established: Atlantic, Québec, Kingston, Toronto Student, Southwest Ontario, Waterloo Student, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Vancouver Student.
Anniversaries:A 25th Anniversary dinner was held in Toronto on April 14, 1983, to commemorate the initial planning meeting held in Montreal on April 14, 1958. At the 50th Annual CORS National Conference (CORS 2008), held in Quebec City from May 12-14, 2008, the 50th Anniversary of the Society was celebrated at the CORS Awards Banquet.