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METHODS

The operations research analyst has a wide variety of methods available for problem
solving. For mathematical programming models there are optimization techniques
appropriate for almost every type of problem, although some problems may be difficult
to solve. For models that incorporate statistical variability there are methods such as
probability analysis and simulation that estimate statistics for output parameters. In most
cases the methods are implemented in computer programs. It is important that at least
some member of an OR study team be aware of the tools available and be
knowledgeable concerning their capabilities and limitations.

In this section we include a number of topics that relate to the methods of operations
research. The contents of this section are arranged by problem type. This Methods
section includes the documentation for the teaching add-ins.

Add Teach The Add Teach add-in allows the user to install and
remove add-ins in the Teach OR collection without
using the Add-in command of the Tools menu. With the
add-in installed, Teach appears on the main Excel
menu. Selecting the Add Teach item presents a dialog
that installs or removes add-ins with a click of the
button. The add-in also opens demonstration
workbooks that illustrate the operations of the Teach
OR collection.
Linear We provide three units to demonstrate and teach linear
Programming programming solution algorithms.

• Primal Simplex Demonstrations are


implemented using Flash to illustrate basic
concepts of the primal simplex technique.

• The Teach Linear Programming Add-in


implements three different algorithms for
solving linear programming models.
Network Flow We provide five units to demonstrate and teach
Programming network flow programming solution algorithms.

• The Teach Network Add-in implements the


network primal simplex method for both pure
and generalized minimum cost flow problems.
• A graphical demonstration using Flash
illustrates and contrasts algorithms for finding
the minimal spanning tree and shortest path
tree.
• The Transportation primal simplex method is
METHODS

implemented in the Teach Transportation Add-


in.

• A graphical demonstration using Flash


illustrates the network primal simplex method.
Integer The Teach IP Add-in implements three methods for
Programming solving linear integer programming problems. The add-
in provides demonstrations and hands-on practice for
the branch and bound method, the cutting plane method
and Benders' algorithm.
Nonlinear The Teach NLP Add-in demonstrates direct search
Programming algorithms for solving nonlinear optimization
problems.
Dynamic The Teach Dynamic Programming Add-in has features
Programming that allow almost any system appropriate for dynamic
programming to be modeled and solved. The program
includes both backward recursion and reaching.