Optimization - Linear Programming

Optimization - Linear Programming

taught by Cliff Ragsdale


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Aim of Course:

Scarcity is a dominant feature of the economic landscape - time, labor and other inputs into business processes.  The essence of management is to make choices that make optimal use of scarce resources. Students in this online course, "Optimization - Linear Programming" will learn how to apply linear programming to complex systems to make better decisions - decisions that increase revenue, decrease costs, or improve efficiency of operations.   The course introduces the role of mathematical models in decision-making, then covers how to formulate basic linear programming models for decision problems where multiple decisions need to be made in the best possible way, while simultaneously satisfying a number of logical conditions (or constraints).  Students will use spreadsheet software to implement and solve these linear programming problems.

After completing this course you will be able to:

  • Describe what types of decisions are amenable to linear programming solutions
  • Formulate a linear programming model, and represent it graphically
  • Solve the LP model with spreadsheet-based software
  • Use LP models for various decisions: make or buy, where to invest, ...
  • Use sensitivity analysis and shadow prices to gain additional information from the LP solution

This course is part of the 3-course Specialization-optimization

This course may be taken individually (one-off) or as part of a certificate program.
Course Program:

WEEK 1: Introduction

  • The role of models in decisions
  • Sources of bias & error in human decision making
  • Good decisions vs. good outcomes

WEEK 2: Linear Programming Models

  • Formulating linear programming models
  • Graphical representations
  • Solving LP models in spreadsheets

WEEK 3: Domain Specific Illustrations

  • Make or buy
  • Investment
  • Transportation
  • Blending

WEEK 4: Sensitivity Analysis

  • Role of sensitivity analysis in the larger decision context
  • Shadow prices
  • Alternate solutions
  • Robust Optimization
  • Simplex Method


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

In addition to assigned readings, this course also has supplemental readings available online.

Optimization - Linear Programming

Who Should Take This Course:
Business analysts with responsibility for specifying, creating, deploying or interpreting quantitative decision models.  Users of linear programming software who need to attain a more solid grounding in the subject.
You will need to have some facility with spreadsheet operations prior to starting this course.
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 Integer & Nonlinear Programming and Network Flow 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 Statistics.com.   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.



August 16, 2019 to September 13, 2019 January 03, 2020 to January 31, 2020 August 14, 2020 to September 11, 2020

Optimization - Linear Programming


August 16, 2019 to September 13, 2019 January 03, 2020 to January 31, 2020 August 14, 2020 to September 11, 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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