COMP 567                   Case Study Information      Winter 2008

The dates below are tentative.

Students will gain experience by working in teams on a substantial case study of an application of integer programming. This study will involve the solution of a realistically sized integer programming problem on a reasonably large set or sets of data. There are four parts to the case study, the first three parts are oral, the fourth written:

1. Initial presentation of problems,
2. Proposals by consultant teams,
3. Preliminary findings and progress report,
4. Final written case study report.

The initial presentations are by each individual student. After this each student joins both a consultant's team of 2-3 people for one of the problems presented, and a management team for a different problem. We will try to make the management teams different from the consultant teams.

1. Initial Presentations(5%): Jan 16

Each student plays the role of a manager of a business that needs help with some kind of optimization problem. The problem is stated in general terms using up to 10 minutes. Indicate the data available, the objective desired, and whatever relevant constraints are to be considered. No mathematical formulation is allowed. The problem should be solvable by integer programming techniques.

2. Proposals by Consultants (10%): February 18  (and Feb 20 if  required)

Each consultant team gives a proposal to solve all or part of the problem they have chosen. The proposal should describe the following: an overview of the problem, the specifications of the input data required, the decision variables to be considered, the objective function and  the constraints to be handled. Specific deliverables should be described. It is best to describe a small prototype that should be easily solvable, a reasonable sized problem that might take considerable computer time (CPLEX), and possible extensions if time permits. Teams of two have up to 20 minutes, and teams of three have up to 25 minutes. Each member of the team must present part of the proposal. The management team for the project must provide constructive criticism and comments after the proposal. They will be required to supply the relevant input data within a week.

3. Preliminary findings and progress report (15%): April 7 and 9

Each consultant team presents the preliminary results of their project using the same time and ground rules as the proposal. Then the management team questions the consultants for a10 minute period, and there is open discussion. It is important to participate in these discussions. Consultants must be able to demonstrate they have successfully solved at least a prototype version of the original problem, and computational results must be presented.

4. Final Written Report (10%): April 30

Ground rules: Consultants may discuss informally with their management team at any time, but should not collaborate with other consultant teams.