Material on this
Site
The site contents are organized under the five
general headings of Models, Methods, Computation,
Problems, and Operations Management/Industrial Engineering
(OM/IE) . The Models
section contains brief discussions on how decision problems
can be expressed in a form amenable to analysis, along with
examples. The section includes most of the topics considered
by introductory Operations Research courses. The Methods
section contains pages that explain the theoretical constructs
behind the solution methods, primarily mathematical programming.
The Computation
section provides instructions for the Excel addins that can
be used to solve the models. A large variety of OR methods
are implemented with the Excel addins. The Problems
section has modeling or algorithm problems to be solved by the
student. The OM/IE section
has pages discussing the design and operation of manufacturing
systems. These topics are typically taught in operations management
and industrial engineering academic programs. Additional addins
solve applied problems in OM/IE.
The site includes what might be considered a
horizontal structure in the form of Tours.
A tour spans all five general areas and could be constructed,
for example, for an integer programming course or for a stochastic
methods course. Several course outlines with links to supporting
pages are provided in an Instruction
section.
The site includes two sections that are composed
of Excel documents. The first gives access to the Excel
addins that implement almost all the computational
procedures described and used in introductory textbooks on Operations
Research and Operations Management. The addins have been extensively
tested and are particularly easy to use. The second section
provides Excel workbooks
that contain demonstrations of the procedures of the addins.
The models used are generally those described in the addin
documentation. A related page holds answers to Frequently
Asked Questions.
All the subjects considered have a large literature
of publications by researchers. It would be difficult to give
credit to the many who have contributed by their works to the
materials on this site, so in most cases we have not attempted
to do so. Most of the theory implemented in the addins is well
known and available from a variety of sources. The interested
student should read the specialized textbooks and journal articles
available for every topic considered here.
The addins implement methods that solve problems,
but we have not attempted to use the most efficient or accurate
methods. We have attempted to consider a broad range of models
and methods, rather than treat only a few with great depth.
The person requiring more effective software should contact
commercial vendors.
Purpose of the Site
Students
Most students will enjoy the OR
Models section. Here are surveys of most of the topic
areas that would be covered in an Introduction to Operations
Research course, as well as more advanced courses. In the Methods
section students will find demonstrations of the primal simplex
algorithms for both general linear programming and network flow
programming. Addins specifically dedicated to teaching are
provided for: Linear
Programming, Transportation
Problem, Network
Flow Programming, Integer
Programming, Nonlinear
Programming and Dynamic
Programming. These can be operated in either demonstration
mode for illustration or instruction mode for practice. In the
Addins section
and the associated Computation
section students will find computational methods that can
be applied to most numerical textbook problems. The Problems
section provides practice problems, some with answers.
Students interested in Operations Management or Industrial Engineering
will find in the OM/IE
section discussions and addins appropriate for a number of
problems that arise in these fields.
Teachers
Although the site was written to support the authors' book,
Operations Research Models and Methods,
it will be useful for almost any introductory text book. The
site does not provide complete mathematical background to the
topics considered. We assume that will be provided by a textbook.
Teachers will find many resources to support teaching. The Instruction
section provides resources for several courses including PowerPoint
presentations. One of the main benefits of using addins for
the teacher is the ability to create examples and homework problems
that are more interesting than the usual textbook problems.
Several of the algorithmic addins provide outputs that help
explain the processes used to solve problems.
Practitioners
The addins will be particularly interesting to persons practicing
Operations Research. Many times it is useful to test concepts
on small problems before extensive programming or the purchase
of offtheshelf software. The addins cover a great variety
of problems and they are very easy to use. The VBA code is easily
accessible, so practitioners can modify the addins or create
new ones.
Relation to the Book
This site supports the book Operations
Research Models and Methods,
published by John Wiley and Sons in 2003. Some of the materials
in this site are included on a CD that accompanies the book.
An Errata page provide corrections
to the text and CD contents and provide access to the Excel
addins and other supporting materials for those not using the
text. We hope, of course, that persons who find the site useful
will buy the book. To purchase the book or request faculty examination
copies visit the John
Wiley site.
The book is designed to bridge the gap between
theory and practice by presenting the tools and techniques most
suited for modern operations research. A principal goal
is to give engineers, analysts, and decision makers a larger
appreciation of the role of OR by providing examples of its
applications and the basics of its theoretical development.
Topics are structured along functional lines
and span mathematical programming, stochastic processes, and
simulation. The presentation is designed to give a full
picture of the relationships that exist among modeling, analysis,
computations, algorithmic implementation, and decisionmaking.
The first part of the book is devoted to deterministic optimization.
Separate chapters are included on models and methods for each
topic. By separating models and methods in a formal way,
those whose main interests do not lie in the mathematics of
operations research can study the modeling material without
intimidation. For those who have the motivation or need
to understand the mathematics, a simple but rigorous development
of OR methods is provided. The second part of the book
deals with probabilistic systems and is similarly structured.
In a number of cases, though, it made more sense to integrate
models and theory in a particular area into a single chapter
rather than treat them in separate chapters.
Computational support is an integral component
of the book. The algorithms embodied in the Excel addins are
quite robust and extremely easy to use. For the most part,
they reflect the procedures outlined in the text. When the user
enters the data and selects a solution process, results are
automatically computed and presented on the spreadsheet.
Very little instruction is necessary for the user to input and
solve complex problems. The spreadsheet medium is very
useful because most people are familiar with its basic operations,
data analysis can be in the same file as models and solutions,
several OR methods can interact through the common interface,
and data can be easily modified for whatif analysis.
Paul A. Jensen, 2004
