15.066J | Summer 2003 | Graduate

System Optimization and Analysis for Manufacturing


Group Project: Application of Optimization

Each student should identify a potential or actual linear, non-linear or integer programming application based on their prior work experience, or from some other personal experience. You should then develop the formulation, and present the application and formulation to your group. Your presentation should review the decision-making context; go over the model and how it is or would be formulated; and discuss relevant issues associated with implementing this model for decision support. For instance, how would the parameters be determined? What type of sensitivity analysis or “what if’s” would be valuable to do? What resistance would you anticipate to this approach and how might you overcome the resistance? This should be done during Week 5.

After the individual presentations, each group should schedule a 30-minute meeting with Prof. Graves to review their project status and plans, ideally at the end of Week 5.

Each group should select one of the examples, or possibly a synthesis of more than one, to share with the rest of class. The group should submit in Session 24 a short proposal (2 pages) that briefly describes the problem and gives a mathematical formulation of the model. The mathematical formulations should clearly define the decision variables, the constraints, and the objective function. We will use the proposal to give feedback on developing your final presentation and report. The group should then prepare a presentation that describes the application. The presentations are scheduled in class during Week 10; each group will have a maximum of 20 minutes. Each presentation should present and describe the decision context; describe the model and its formulation; and finally discuss briefly issues associated with implementing the model for decision support. If the problem is not too large, you might run an illustrative example, using an appropriate solver.

Each group should also submit a final memorandum (3 - 5 pages as a target, possibly with a technical appendix) to accompany the presentation and to hand in.

Grading will be based on the overall quality of the work, both in oral presentations and in the written report – how interesting and relevant is the problem chosen? How well did the group do in modeling the problem? How well did the group do in exploring how to parameterize the model? Did the group do any computational experiments? Was anything learned from experimenting with the model? Did the group make a realistic appraisal of the applicability of the model?

Student Work

Examples of group projects, including memorandums, presentations, and spreadsheets, are available in the table below. Each collection of documents is courtesy of the students named, and is used with permission.

1 Labor Planning for a Manufacturing Line - Lane Ballard, Christine Cheung, Justin Ging, Omur Kaya, David Jackson, and Alyson Naughton Final Memorandum (PDF)

Presentation (PDF)

Spreadsheet of Model (XLS)

3 Pump System Design: Optimizing Total Cost Over System Life Cycle - Tamara Greenlaw, Christian Caballero, Aaron Raphel, Minja Penttila, and Cliff Smith Final Memorandum (PDF)

Presentation (PDF)

Spreadsheet of Model (XLS)

4 Assignment of Instructors for Courses and Sections Within the U.S. Air Force Academy Department of Mathematical Sciences  
5 Fundraising Optimization for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training  
6 Boston Bound: Optimization of LFM Student Summer Travel to Boston

7 Student Loan Optimization  
8 Marina Mooring Optimization - Brian Siefering, Amber Mazooji, Kevin McKenney, Paul Mingardi, Vikram Sahney, and Kazunori Maruyama Final Memorandum (PDF)

Presentation (PDF)

Spreadsheet of Model (XLS)

Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Projects with Examples
Problem Sets
Written Assignments