M373 and BM240 course materials

Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: I Get Around (Beach Boys)
Topic: Data Collection

So, was looking at the BM240 (business students) and M373 (maths students) materials after the U500 seminar on epistemological awareness, and noticed quite a lot of difference from what is taught in BM240 and M373. Well first of all … BM240 only has one section (or book) on it … whilst M373 has 4 books (granted they teach a lot more).

In BM240 the students are guided by the “Quantitative Analysis for Management” 7th Ed. textbook by Render and Stair (2000), students are taught the formulation of linear programming problems in particular these kind of problems:
1. Marketing applications: media selection and marketing research
2. Manufacturing applications: production mix and production scheduling
3. Financial applications: portfolio selection

There were a lot more problems in the books like employee scheduling but these were not covered by the course.

Students were also taught the graphical method, but were not taught to solve it using the isoprofit line but rather using the corner-point solution method. Further, in the corner-point solution method they were taught to solve for the point using simultaneous equations rather than reading off the point on the graph. Students were not taught the simplex algorithm.

With respect to software, students used Excel solver, the problems were first formulated by hand and were then taught how to set up the problem in Excel to solve.

They were also taught the types of linear programming problems they might encounter:
1. Infeasibility (no solution!)
2. Unboundedness (no bound on solution – can increase as much as it wants!)
3. Redundancy (repeated constraints)
4. Alternate optimal solutions

With respect to sensitivity analysis, they were taught sensitivity analysis as a concept, but did not look at a printout of a sensitivity analysis, but rather solved problems using Excel with different values on the RHS and coefficients (I think) to see how this influenced the solution.

With respect to M373, they were also taught the formulation, but first they were taught it in the algebraic format and then to convert it into the matrix format. They were taught several types of problems including:
1. Diet
2. Production Process models(I think it was an example of a waste disposal)
3. Multi-period models
4. Blending

The graphical method was also taught, and the concept of feasible regions were looked at in detail. Also, they were taught how to solve problems using the optimal-point solution method (note how this term differs from corner-point solution although it is the same thing), in this case students had to read out the answer (I think) rather than solve with simultaneous equations.

Students were taught the simplex method, with a mixture of algebraic and matrix notation (looked really hard to understand!!!) – which they called putting it in its canonical form. They were also taught to solve it using the matrix format (which looked a lot easier to understand – wonder if its deliberate!)

They were also made to understand the concept of dual and duality theory. Hence from this solve the problem using the 2 phase simplex method (using the matrix notation) and hence considered the terms of excess and surplus variables. With using the duality theory, the concept of the sensitivity analysis was broached (which they called post-optimality analysis) and were able to calculate the shadow price and reduced cost through the use of the matrix notation. I can’t remember if they looked at the range/ limits of the RHS and coefficients of the variable. Will have to double check.

They were solving problems using the computer but I’m not quite certain how they did it since the computer activity book was not included in the materials in the library. I’ve written to M373 course manager to see if I can get a copy – hopefully will get a reply tomorrow and then can update this accordingly.


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