Integer & Nonlinear Programming and Network Flow

Integer & Nonlinear Programming and Network FLow

taught by Cliff Ragsdale


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Aim of Course:

Many business problems involve flows through a network - transportation, stages of an industrial process, routing of data.  Students taking this online course, "Integer & Nonlinear Programming and Network Flow" will learn to specify and implement optimization models that solve network problems (what is the shortest path through a network, what is the least cost way to route material through a network with multiple supply nodes and multiple demand nodes).  Students will also learn how to solve Integer Programming (IP) problems (constrained optimization problems except with one or more decision variable constrained to be an integer: e.g. a firm setting up a wi-fi hotspot could use 2 routers or 3 routers, but not 2.5 routers), and Nonlinear Programming (NLP) problems (where the objective function and constraints are not linear functions of the decision variables.  Students will use spreadsheet-based software to specify and implement models.

After you complete this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe the characteristics of a network flow problem
  • Specify an objective function and constraints for a network problem, and model it with software
  • Describe the scenario in which an integer programming method is used
  • Specify an integer programming model
  • Appropriately use rounding and stopping rules, and branch & bound
  • Solve the integer programming problem with software
  • Accommodate multiple goals in the analysis
  • Specify a nonlinear programming model
This course may be taken individually (one-off) or as part of a certificate program.
Course Program:

WEEK 1: Network Flow Problems

  • Characteristics (nodes, arcs, decision variables)
  • The objective function & constraints
  • Modeling in a spreadsheet

WEEK 2: Integer Linear Programming

  • Integrality condition, relaxation
  • Rounding
  • Stopping rules
  • Binary variables
  • Implementing/solving the model
  • Branch & bound

WEEK 3: Multiple goals

  • Soft/hard constraints
  • Defining the objective
  • Analysis/solution
  • Tradeoffs & goal revision
  • Multiple objective linear programming (MOLP)
  • Minimax

WEEK 4: Nonlinear Programming (NLP)

  • Generalized reduced gradient (GRG) overview
  • Local vs. Global optimality
  • Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) problem
  • Location problem
  • Evolutionary Optimization


Homework in this course consists of short answer questions to test concepts and guided data analysis problems using software.

Integer & Nonlinear Programming and Network Flow

Who Should Take This Course:

Business analysts with responsibility for specifying, creating, deploying or interpreting quantitative decision models.  Users of optimization software who need to attain a more solid grounding in network optimization, integer programming, non-convex optimization, and multi-criteria optimization.


Organization of the Course:
Options for Credit and Recognition:

Specializations are an easy way for you to demonstrate mastery of a specific skill in statistics and analytics. This course is part of the Optimization Specialization which discusses linear programming, nonlinear programming, network flow, decision analysis, queuing, simulation.

Course Text:

Spreadsheet Modeling & Decision Analysis, eighth edition by Cliff Ragsdale, which can be ordered from the publisher via the previous link.  This text is also used in Introduction to Optimization and Risk Simulation and Queueing.

The course uses Analytic Solver Platform for Education software by Frontline systems.  Analytic Solver Platform for Education is an add-in for Excel that performs risk analysis, simulation, optimization, decision trees and other analytical methods.  With the purchase or rental of the book, you will have a course code that will enable you to download and install the software for 140 days. If you do not have such a license, a license is also available for course registrants through   Please do not install the regular public trial copy of the software on your own; when the course starts we will provide you with the complete installation instructions to obtain the appropriate copy of the software.


September 20, 2019 to October 18, 2019 September 18, 2020 to October 16, 2020

Integer & Nonlinear Programming and Network Flow


September 20, 2019 to October 18, 2019 September 18, 2020 to October 16, 2020

Course Fee: $589

Do you meet course prerequisites? What about book & software? (Click here to learn more)

We have flexible policies to transfer to another course, or withdraw if necessary (modest fee applies)

Group rates: Click here to get information on group rates. 

First time student or academic? Click here for an introductory offer on select courses. Academic affiliation?  You may be eligible for a discount at checkout.

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