The material on this site is derived from the lecture notes written by the author while teaching introductory optimization to engineering students and reflects the design considerations for those courses:

  • Students need to have a solid intuitive understanding of how and why optimization methods work. This enables them to recognize when things have gone wrong, and to diagnose the source of the difficulty and take appropriate action. It also permits students to see how methods can be combined or modified to solve non-standard problems.
  • Explanation and diagrams are more effective in transmitting a real understanding than a total reliance on mathematics.
  • There should be some exposure to how things are done in practice, which can be significantly different than how they are usually done in textbooks.
  • The goal is for students to be able to recognize when problems that they encounter in their jobs or in thesis work can be successfully tackled by optimization methods. Students should be able to abstract a useful formulation of a problem from a messy real world description.
  • The material is written at the introductory level, assuming no more knowledge than high school algebra. Most concepts are developed from scratch. I intend this to be a gentle introduction.
This material was originally hosted at starting in the mid-1990s. Discontinuation of browser support for Flash animations and a need for easier remote updating prompted the move to this new site. 


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