Updated: January 6, 2010

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 description 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 3-4 people for one of the problems presented, and a management team for a different problem.

1. Initial description of problems(5%): due February 1 , by email to TA. Due to the large number of students, this will be a written presentation.

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 in writing using a maximum of 2 pages. 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. You must invent this problem, not just copy it from a textbook or from bte web.

You submit this as a pdf file to Conor : conor.meagher AT mail.mcgill.ca

All descriptions will be posted on a web page. Students will form consultant teams of 3-4 students.

Each team works on a different problem. Teams register with Conor, first come first served.

Once the consultant teams are fixed we will assing management teams.

2. Proposals by Consultants (10%): February 15,17

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 three have up to 15 minutes, and teams of four have up to 20 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%): March 29,31

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 a 10 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. If the slides are self-explanatory, no written report is required.

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.