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Applications of Operations Research

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**The Principles of Scheduling
**

If we have a number of tasks to complete and know how long each will take, to minimize the total time

all jobs remain unprocessed, we should do the shortest jobs first.

If we have a number of tasks, each of which has a deadline by which it must be completed, then if it is

possible to schedule the jobs in such a way that they are all completed in time, then this can be

achieved by doing jobs with the nearest deadline first.

These results are very intuitive and we would expect them to be true in most cases. The critical part of

this is that we have proofs that they do in fact hold in all cases and can thus rely on these and can also

use these as heuristics (solutions that are good, but not necessarily the best) in more complicated cases.

This principle has applications in many different situations in the real world. In everyday life, if you

have to do a whole lot of tasks, doing the short ones first can make it seem much more manageable, as

you quickly only have to do one or two jobs. In industry, the applications are endless. For example, a

city runs a system of buses for public transportation. From time to time, these buses may need

maintenance, which varies from a quick cleaning to a transmission replacement. If these buses are

processed in the order they arrive, buses that need a regular cleaning will be stuck behind ones that

need a transmission replacement that takes a long time. Soon the city will not have enough buses to run

their transit system. However, if the jobs are processed in order of how much time they will take, this

problem disappears. Only a few buses will not be running at any given time.

2. In a convex feasible region a local minimum is a global minimum

A convex set can be thought of as a set where you can see any point from any other point.

The first set is convex, while the second one is not. This is an example of a two dimensional set, but

such sets can exist in any number of dimensions. Furthermore, you can define a continuous function

over such a set. In any function, a local maximum means that at a point, say x, f(x) is bigger than it is at

its neighboring points, say x-a and x+a, for small values of a. A global maximum means that at a point,

say x, f(x) is bigger than it is at any other point y. A local and global minimum is similarly defined. In a

convex set, since you can “see” any point from any other point, a local minimum is always a global

minimum. While this seems an underwhelming result, it is very useful. It is easy to show that a Linear

Programming Problem (discussed below) always produces a convex space and thus a local solution to

an LPP is also a global solution to the LPP.

3. The Simplex Method solves a Linear Programming Problem

The easiest way to explain a Linear Programming Problem is by an example. Suppose we have 5lbs of

wheat and 6 pounds of sugar and 2 gallons of milk. We can make biscuits or bread with these

ingredients. A loaf of bread required a pound of wheat, a pound of sugar and half a gallon of milk. A

batch of biscuits required half a pound of wheat. If he is starting to recover. since the set is a convex set (discussed above) and a local maximum/minimum is a global maximum/minimum. he might have a small probability. For example. and all variables are of the first power. starting at any corner. a LPP is any problem where we are trying to maximize or minimize some number (in this case. What is the optimal number of loaves of bread and batches of biscuits to make to maximize the money we make? More generally. and probabilities of transitioning between them. (Alex Jones. they you are at the optimal solution. if a person has the states {sick.).01 of getting sick every day. move to the one with the best value. recovering}. For each day he is sick. If they do. say . and some probability of staying sick. In short. well. The Simplex method relies on the fact that an optimal solution is always found on a corner of the feasible region. our profit) subject to some constraints (the amount of wheat used has to be less than 5lbs etc. Discrete Time Markov Chain A Discrete Time Markov Chain is a way of modeling a process which has discrete or separate states. or he might get worse again (if for example. a pound and a half of sugar and half a gallon of milk. A batch of biscuits sells for $15 and a loaf of bread sells for $10. check if the corners next to it have a better optimal value. Data Analytics for Business Leaders Explained) 4. If not. he does not eat . he might get well. he will have some probability of starting to recover.

01 . Google PageRank.wordpress. This is best described by example. DTMCs have a wide variety of applications in a number of fields.wikipedia. with some average value (1/λ). Lack of Memory of Exponential Distribution The Exponential Distribution is a probability distribution.com/2011/02/17/primer-on-hidden-markov-models-part-1/) 5.50 DTMCs are easy to study and we can figure out a large amount of information from them.70 . How often you receive a text message on your phone is a memory distribution (with mean depending . For example the long term average of how long a person will be sick or well.30 Sick .30 .99 Sick 0 Recovering . The pages are the states and the probabilities are based on the hyperlinks between pages.enough.20` Recovering 0 . the algorithm behind the Google search engine is another such example. or get enough rest). or how much time we would expect it to take for a person who is sick to become well. (https://sgmustadio. Well Well . We call this a DTMC.org/wiki/File:Exponential_cdf. (https://en.svg) A very important property of the distribution is that it is memoryless.

without losing sophistication in the model. to radioactive decay. Say on average. you would not expect to receive one soon. Just because you hadn’t received a text message for 29 minutes. you receive a text message every 30 minutes. . It is just as likely that you will receive a text message 5 minutes after the previous one as it is 30 minutes after.on how popular you are). This is clearly true because none of your friends are keeping track of how often you receive these texts. We use this model to describe waiting times in applications ranging from queues (for example. This lack of memory property makes using this distribution in more complex models very easy. at the DMV or in a bank or in manufacturing).

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