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Linear Programming

Dr. P. I. Ayantha Gomes


Example 1: A farmland with an extent of 240

acres is to be used to grow corn and oats.
Usually one acre of corn will generate a profit
of 40 USD, and for oats its 30 USD. To harvest
corn it takes two hours of labour per acre and
for oats it is one hour of labour per acre. Farm
has money to pay for 320 hours of labour.
How many acres of each crop should be
planted to maximise profit?

All projects have objectives/goals such as

maximising the profit, minimising the cost,
minimising the time of completion etc.
These objectives depend on several variables
(e.g. if to maximise profit, sales needs to be more
and costs need to be less)
Variables can be subject to several constraints
and often variables come as combinations
Linear programing is a method that can be used
to find the best mix of variables, in order to
achieve the objective (e.g. (i) as in the previous
example to maximise the profit what is the spilt
between oats and corn in the farmland)

Linear programing is the mathematical

modelling that can be used to find the
optimum/economical/rational allocation of
scarce resources such as labour, machines,
ware house space, etc. to several competing
activities such as production of different
products, provision of different services etc.

Requirements for linear programing

There must be a well defined objective
function (also known as utility function)
Variables with constraints

Advantages of LP
Helps to identify the optimal use of variables
Improves the decision, which is vital in project
formulation stage (e.g. How many three bed room
apartments and two bed room apartments in the

Disadvantages of LP
Not very easy to compute for large problems
If things change with time, difficult to apply
Cannot be used to multi objective problems

Linear programing methods

1. Graphical method
2. Simplex method

Steps of Graphical method

1) Graph the inequalities
2) Find the vertices (extreme corner points)
3) Compute the utility function at vertices to
maximise it or minimise it, depending on the
4) Graphical method can be done either solving
corner points or by another approach called,
ISO method

Do the first example using ISO method (in ISO

method, draw the objective function on graph. As
an example if the objective function is Z= ax + by,
draw lines ax + by = k, k is a constant. The line
that meets a corner point closet to the origin will
give the minimum solution, whereas the furthest
to the origin will maximise the solution)

Graphical method
Can be used if the problem has only two
decision variables
Also, if number of constraints increase, it is
difficult to use this method, as plotting and
observing intersecting points are difficult


Example 2: Use graphical method and find

how many mugs and bowels should be
produced to maximise profit. A bowl needs
one hour of labour whereas a mug two hours
of labour. The clay requirement for a bowl is
two kgs, and a mug needs one kg. Profit
generation by a bowl and a mug is Rs 30 and
Rs 10, respectively. Thirty hours of labour and
50 kgs of clay is available at company's


Simplex method
Need to be used when decision variables are
more than two (previous cases it was only
two, thus could be plotted on a x-y plot)


Example 1: Find x, y and Z so that P is maximum

= 6 + 5 + 4
2 + + 180
+ 3 + 2 300
2 + + 2 240


Example 2: Find x, and y so that P is maximum

P = 3x + 2y

2x + y 18
2x + 3y 42
3x + y 24



Thank you!