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Real-World LP ·

Reflect in ePortfolio ·

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To receive full credit for discussion participation, you should post a message during the first three days of the module.

The Week 1 topic requires nothing more than some thought and reflection, while the Week 2 topic requires specific knowledge of the module’s contents. For full credit, you should respond to both topics. We suggest you do the Week 1 topic first, but please feel free to respond to either topic, at any time. Week 1 Topic: “It’swhatcha do with whatcha you got…”

The Tin Pan Alley classic continues, “…never mind how much you’ve got,/It’s whatcha do with whatcha you got/That pays off in the end!” (De Paul & Raye, circa 1948).

Making the best use of limited resources is a familiar problem. One familiar example is the limited space in a backpack. If you’re going to be in the wood for two weeks, what should you pack? Some factors you’d need to consider; bulk, weight, food value, and necessity. (Carbs and protein are required. Diet soda? Not so much.)

Another example is study time. Do you allocate every hour to one course, or spread the time out among all your courses? What are the factors involved in that decision? (Possible factors: how hard the material is, your current grade, and when the next assignment is due.)

A common business-related problem goes like this. A factory makes several different products. There’s a different demand for each. Each generates a particular profit. All of them must be made with limited money, materials, and time. What’s the optimum product mix—that is, how many of each should the factory make?

For your first posting, please describe an allocation problem you have faced, either personally, or as part of your job. What were the desired outcomes? What were the constraints?

Looking ahead; linear programming is a tool that can be used to make allocation decisions of that type.

Week 2 Topic:

1. Discuss the problems you encountered (or, perhaps, are still encountering) while completing the Case exercise. Would you expect to encounter the same problems if you were using LP for a real-world allocation decision? Why or why not? Explain in the context of an actual allocation problem with which you are familiar.

2. List some characteristics of an allocation problem that may make it difficult to optimize using LP. Here are two: · Constraints may not be totally predictable. For example, the price one can charge for a particular product may vary unpredictably over time. ·

All of the constraints may not be known. For example, a new pollution regulation may limit effluents, thereby limiting a particular production process.

There are more. What are they?

Discussion General Expectations

1. In your first posting, you should show a basic understanding of the issues involved in the module. In your second and subsequent postings, you should demonstrate a clear understanding of the material covered in the module.

2. Critically apply your understanding to the examples provided by others. Do those examples clearly illustrate the concepts being discussed? Why or why not?

3. Provide relevant sources for any information that isn’t common knowledge.



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