PREFACE

This is an introductory textbook on optimization—that is, on mathematical programming—intended for undergraduates and graduate students in management or in engineering. The principal coverage includes linear programming, nonlinear programming, integer programming, and heuristic programming; and the emphasis is on model building using Microsoft® Office Excel® and Solver.

The emphasis on model building (rather than algorithms) is one of the features that make this book distinctive. Most textbooks devote more space to algorithmic details than to formulation principles. These days, however, it is not necessary to know a great deal about algorithms in order to apply optimization tools, especially when relying on the spreadsheet as a solution platform.

The emphasis on spreadsheets is another feature that makes this book distinctive. Few textbooks devoted to optimization pay much attention to spreadsheet implementation of optimization principles, and many books that emphasize model building ignore spreadsheets entirely. Thus, someone looking for a spreadsheet-based treatment would otherwise have to use a textbook that was designed for some other purpose, such as a survey of management science topics, rather than one devoted to optimization.

WHY MODEL BUILDING?

The model building emphasis derives from an attempt to be realistic about what management and engineering students need most when learning about optimization. At an introductory level, the most practical and motivating ...

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