Math 354: Linear Optimization, Summer 2009 

"There are three kinds of mathematicians: those who know how to count, and those who don't know how to count" -Anonymous


Instructor: Dr. Michael Weingart.

Teaching Assistant: Michael Weingart. If you are shy about asking the instructor for help, please don't hesitate to ask the TA.

Email: weingart [at] math [dot] rutgers [dot] edu.

Office hours: TBA in Hill 209, and by appointment.

Required Text: Bernard Kolman and Robert E. Beck, Elementary Linear Programming with Applications, Second Edition, published by Academic Press, 1995. (ISBN 0-12-417910-X)
We will cover chapters 1 (basics of linear optimization), 2 (the simplex method), 3 (duality), and 4 (integer programming). As time permits, we will study some particularly interesting applications of linear optimization in chapter 5.

Lecture time and location: Scott 203, MTTh 6:00-8:35PM.
Tentative list of topics and sections of the book to be covered, with an approximate schedule.

Course Webpage:

Attendance: Attendance is expected, and quite essential to learning the subject in such a short period of time. You are urged to participate actively in class, which will help greatly in learning both the conceptual and the computational aspects of the subject.

Grading Scheme:
    20% Homework and quizzes
    20% Midterm 1
    20% Midterm 2
    40% Final Exam

Homework: There will be regular written homework assignments, each to be handed it at the beginning of class on the day on which it is due. The lowest homework score will be dropped. Late homework will not be accepted!
You are encouraged to work with classmates on these assignments, but you are not permitted to copy someone else's work; any work you submit must ultimately be your own. There are also strongly recommended homework problems from the textbook which are not to be handed in, but quizzes and exams will be written with the expectation that you have understood how to solve these recommended problems.

Quizzes: There will be occasional in class quizzes, not necessarily announced in advance. The lowest quiz score will be dropped. There will be no makeup quizzes!

Midterms: The midterm exams are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday July 21 and Tuesday August 4. Since our classes are two and a half hours each, which is far too long for a midterm exam, each midterm will be about half a class period, to be followed by a regular lecture in the second half of the class meeting. This will stretch your attention span, as will each of our class meetings even where there is no exam! Please prepare for this mentally. Attending all classes is essential.

Final Exam: Tuesday August 11, 6:00-9:00PM.

Extra course materials: solutions to exams and some homework assignments

Fundamental pedagogic paradox: Courses offered in the summer session are expected to be equivalent in content and level of difficulty to those taught in the fall or spring semesters. On the other hand, we are compressing a 14 week course into 6 weeks, which leaves very little time for conceptual subject matter to sink in.
A few friendly words of advice addressing the fundamental paradox: Never fall behind in a math course!!!!! Since there is relatively little time for the ideas we'll be discussing to sink in, and they are very difficult to learn quickly right before an exam, it is important to clear up your confusions sooner rather than later. Go over your notes and work through suggested homework problems soon after each class rather than delaying. Don't be shy about asking questions in class or office hours. An excellent way to improve your understanding of the subject is to study and work on homework together with classmates. Explaining mathematical ideas to others is often the most effective way to sort out your own confusions and clarify your understanding; you don't know just what it is that you don't know until you try explaining it to someone else.

Disclaimer: All of the above is given for informational purposes only; any of the above details are subject to change by the instructor, by announcement in class.


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