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A Real-World Network Modeling Project


  • Nedialko B. Dimitrov

    () (Operations Research Department, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California 93943)

  • Gerald Brown

    () (Operations Research Department, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California 93943)

  • Matthew Carlyle

    () (Operations Research Department, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California 93943)


The Operations Research Department at the Naval Postgraduate School educates experienced junior military officers in state-of-the-art operations research methods. As part of the educational program all officers go through a standard graduate course on network modeling. Within that course, students complete a class-long network modeling project of a real-world infrastructure system that solidifies their understanding of operations research concepts and moves the learning experience beyond the classroom. Through the project, students abstract their real-world problems into mathematics, repeatedly evaluate the connection between the mathematics and reality, and reason about the model results. The project has educational, research, and practical benefits. On occasion, students make discoveries of such significance that we have contacted the infrastructure system operators with briefings on the student analysis results. Some student projects have eventually influenced Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense policy. We detail what makes the network modeling project work, and how to implement it in other universities.

Suggested Citation

  • Nedialko B. Dimitrov & Gerald Brown & Matthew Carlyle, 2013. "A Real-World Network Modeling Project," INFORMS Transactions on Education, INFORMS, vol. 14(1), pages 4-12, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:orited:v:14:y:2013:i:1:p:4-12

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    networks; interdiction; design; project; infrastructure;


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