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Teaching Computational Discrete Optimization at the Undergraduate Level


  • Andreas Alpers

    () (School of Operations Research and Information Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853)

  • Leslie E. Trotter

    () (School of Operations Research and Information Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853)


We describe a new course on computational discrete optimization that the authors designed and taught at Cornell University. Conceptually new, this course is targeted toward senior-level undergraduate students and not, as is usually the case, toward advanced graduate students. We discuss how recent availability of high quality free software facilitated this undertaking. We hope the ideas and supporting teaching materials in this paper will find further application. Computational implementation and experimentation is an intriguing and challenging approach that can be used extensively in teaching students important skills for solving real-world discrete optimization problems.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Alpers & Leslie E. Trotter, 2009. "Teaching Computational Discrete Optimization at the Undergraduate Level," INFORMS Transactions on Education, INFORMS, vol. 9(2), pages 63-69, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:orited:v:9:y:2009:i:2:p:63-69

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