KC5027 - Operational Research

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What will I learn on this module?

Operational Research is designed to introduce students to the operational research methods that apply to specific business problems. You will learn about linear programming, inventory control, quality control, network analysis, queueing theory and simulation – topics created to analyse and solve everyday business problems. A range of business optimisation problems will be presented, and theoretical aspects of the solutions considered. Various quality control techniques will be examined and you will learn how to use software such as Excel and Matlab to solve such problems.

Outline syllabus
Simulation Models: Properties and transformations of pseudo random numbers. Developing Witness models to simulate various situations.
Queuing Theory: Queue discipline; traffic intensity; single server queues with random arrivals and random service times; more than one server; cost comparisons.
Network Analysis: Construction of the network; critical path analysis; resource levelling; crash costs and crashing the network; variation in the duration of activities.
Linear Programming: Formulation of a problem for two or more variables; graphical solution; sensitivity analysis; simplex algorithm. Use of Excel to solve linear programming problems. Integer programming using Branch and Bound Algorithm. Transportation problems.
Inventory Control: Economical order quantity; price breaks; buffer stocks.
Quality Control techniques to include control charts and acceptance sampling.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through a series of lectorials which combine formal lectures and hands on experience using computer software. Classes will be scheduled in our modern computer laboratories enabling you to apply the techniques presented in the lecture part of the session and, in this way, deepen your understanding of the material and develop your practical skills. This, in turn, develops your confidence to explore the subject area further as an independent learner outside the classroom.

Formative feedback is available weekly in the classes as you get to grips with new techniques and solve problems. In addition, we operate an open door policy where you can meet with your module tutor to seek further advice or help if required. Your ability to select appropriate techniques and use the appropriate computational approach to solve simulation problems is assessed in a lab based class test whereas your ability to appraise various business problems and the wider area of linear programming and develop appropriate mathematical solutions is tested in a longer laboratory exam at the end of the module.

General feedback on assessments will be given in class and individual feedback will be written on scripts. An opportunity to discuss work further will be available on an individual basis when work is returned and also through the open door policy.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Direct contact with the teaching team during the lectorials will involve participation in both general class discussions as well as one to one discussions during the hands-on part of the class. This gives you a chance to get immediate feedback pertinent to your particular needs in this session. Further feedback and discussion with the teaching team area also available at any time through our open door policy. In addition, all teaching materials and supplementary material (such as interesting articles) are available through the e-learning portal.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Choose appropriate statistical methods to generate pseudorandom numbers for a variety of statistical distributions.
2. Formulate, analyse and solve optimisation problems in a business context using linear programming and inventory control techniques.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Apply and appraise procedures for controlling and maintaining quality in mass production
4. Test the randomness of generated pseudorandom numbers and assess their usefulness.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Interpret the mathematical aspects of selected business problems, obtain solutions and interpret those solutions.

How will I be assessed?

SUMMATIVE
1. Lab based examination (50%) – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
2. Lab based examination (50%) – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Examinations are scheduled at the end of each semester to allow a ‘stepping off point’ if required.

FORMATIVE
Formative assessment will be available on a weekly basis in the lectorials through normal lecturer-student interactions, allowing them to extend, consolidate and evaluate their knowledge.

Formative feedback will be provided on student work and errors in understanding will be addressed reactively using individual discussion. Solutions for laboratory tasks will be provided after the students have attempted the questions, allowing students to receive feedback on the correctness of their solutions and to seek help if matters are still not clear.

Pre-requisite(s)

None

Co-requisite(s)

None

Module abstract

‘Operational Research’ is designed to introduce students to the operational research methods that apply to specific business problems. You will learn about linear programming, inventory control, quality control, network analysis, queueing theory and simulation – topics created to analyse and solve everyday business problems. This subject area was created during the Second World War to solve practical problems and, as such, is a very practical subject.

You will learn through a series of lectorials which combine formal lectures and hands on experience using computer software. Classes will be scheduled in our modern computer laboratories enabling you to apply the techniques presented in the lecture part of the session and, in this way, deepen your understanding of the material and develop your practical skills.

On this module, you will learn to solve problems in a variety of areas that apply to business such as scheduling jobs, inventory control, simulation, queueing and statistical process control. The module is assessed using two examinations - each examination based on the material given in one semester. The examinations are based on computer laboratories saw that you can use the practical skills that you have learnt throughout the module to solve problems.

Course info

UCAS Code G101

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 4 years full-time or 5 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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