Fall 2008 Home Page

Welcome to the Math 428, Principles of Operations Research, home page. You're probably here for information, so let's start with the vital statistics of the course.

Essential Information

Operation Research Resources

  • INFORMS Home Page A professional society for operations research practicioners.
  • Wikipedia and OR Lots of information about many subjects. Caveat emptor.
  • MathWorks Home page for the producers of MATLAB.
  • Department Lab Home Page Information about lab hours and times for orientation sessions.
  • SIAM Home Page Every serious student of applied mathematics should consider joining the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics!
As we all know, lots of information can be found on the web. Go to your favorite search engine (like Google or Yahoo) and try searching on "operations research resource". See how many web pages you hit and visit a few interesting looking sites. As we cover specialized topics, try searching on them with keywords such as "simplex method".


Notes and FAQ

1/9/06:(Just to get the FAQ started) About significant digits...
I've been asked to explain what significant digits of an approximation to a number mean. Here goes: to get the number of significant digits, first *subtract* (rather than just looking at the numbers) the two (may as well be larger - smaller,) then find the position of the leading digit of the error relative to the position of leading digit of the exact answer. (We're thinking in fixed point representation in this discussion.) If the difference in that position is less than 5, then number of significant digits is one less than that position, else two less.

For example if 1.006 and .996 are used to approximate 1, calculate 1.006 - 1 = 0.006. Notice I put the zero in front of the decimal to start counting from the right position. There is nonzero digit at the 4th position, counting from the (base 10) position of the leading digit of 1, and the size of this digit is greater than 5, so this approximation has 2 significant digits. On the other hand, 1 - .995 = 0.005, which again has a nonzero digit in the 4th position, and the size of the digit is at most 5, so .995 has 3 significant digits as an approximation to 1. BTW, it's also perfectly correct to say that each answer has one significant digit, though this doesn't give all the available information. Hope this helps.

Class Policy Statement

Course: Math 428, Introduction to Operations Research

Place/Time: 12 AvH, 2:00-3:45 TR, Spring 2008

Preq: Math 314 and Stat 380 or equivalent.

Objectives: To help students achieve competence in the following areas:

  • Basic principles of operations research techniques including lilinear programming, dynamic programming, decision analysis, simulation and queueing theory.
  • Understanding of how to apply these techniques to real world problems.
  • Use of numerical and computer tools for solving these problems.
Instructor: Dr. Thomas Shores

Telephone: Office 472-7233   Home 489-0560

Email: tshores1@math.unl.edu

Web Home Page: http://www.math.unl.edu/~tshores1/

Office Hours: Monday 2:00-4:00, Tuesday 3:30-5:00, Thursday 10:00-12:00, Friday 9:00-10:30, and by appointment. Office: 229 AvH

Class Attendance: Is required. If absent, it is incumbent upon the student to determine what has been missed as soon as possible. It is advisable to consult with the instructor.

Homework/Projects: Homework will be assigned in class and collected in accordance with the syllabus, and will be usually returned within one week. Although collaboration in solving most problems is encouraged, it is strictly forbidden to copy someone else's homework. It is expected that co-collaborators and other sources for the homework will be duly acknowledged. For some specified problems no collaboration will be allowed. There is no official programming language for this course and prior programming experience is not required. Current information about the course will be available through Blackboard and the 428 homepage. Using the web is strongly recommended for keeping track of current activities in the course.

Reading Assignment: Read the sections of the texts as, or before, they are covered in class lectures. This is a standing assignment throughout the semester.

Grade: One midterm will be given and will account for 130 points. The final exam will count 140 points. Each exam may have a take home component. In-class exams are closed book with calculators. Homework will count 230 points. The final grade will be based on these 500 points.

Final Exam: Will be comprehensive. To be given on Wednesday, May 7, 1:00 - 3:00 pm in AvH 12.

Grades of "I", "W" or "P": These grades will be given in strict accordance with University policy. (See any Schedule of Classes for the relevant information and dates.)

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