It is that dreadful time of the year when I am prepping classes and over the last few terms I came to the realization that I need to significantly beef up the practice-oriented content of my lectures. Consequently, I have started looking for case studies / problems with (ideally sufficiently large) data that can be modeled, solved and interpreted by the students.

I am aware of synthetic test instances for Knapsack / TSP but I fear that they are a little too abstract for regular business students. Therefore, I would highly appreciate combinations of paper and data (e.g., https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs40685-014-0008-6.pdf, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxuwSmNrxiTySWxJV3pQZ2I1YTg/edit) or free case studies (again ideally with data).

I have no requirements concerning the problem types - so anything that leverages OR tools and methods and can be replicated would work nicely. Ideally, the problem types should be close to what a student can handle equipped with a MIP solver plus general data preparation skills.

  • $\begingroup$ What you are looking for should be papers or other resources like books are suitable? $\endgroup$ – A.Omidi Sep 4 '19 at 4:49
  • $\begingroup$ Any resources are fine - I am even happy about pointers to individual problems and not necessarily collections. $\endgroup$ – CMichael Sep 4 '19 at 8:13

I think for business students looking at papers (for example from Interfaces) might be asking too much.

If this is about getting business students to use OR tools, specifically MIP solvers, I would recommend the book "Model Building in Mathematical Programming" by H. Paul Williams. It mostly consists of case studies from various fields and is easy enough to understand.

There is also a free PDF that has the data and code for the SAS OPTMODEL modeling language (called the Mathematical Programming Examples Book):


Other MIP solver vendors have similar collections of example problems that might be worthwhile looking into.

  • $\begingroup$ This is an amazing resource - thank you so much! $\endgroup$ – CMichael Sep 10 '19 at 10:19

The INFORMS Transactions on Education is devoted to works about education in OR. There you can find many cases already used by teachers in their courses, along with material for instructors.

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    $\begingroup$ This looks neat - just signed up and will then explore the offerings. I was indeed aware of the Transactions but not of the instructor materials - thanks a lot! $\endgroup$ – CMichael Sep 3 '19 at 9:20
  • $\begingroup$ Little update - I have so far not received credentials for the instructor materials. Retried today - that was a little let-down. $\endgroup$ – CMichael Sep 11 '19 at 21:10
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I understand it's a let down. I have never tried to register -- I am a PhD student, I probably can't. If you found a paper you are particularly interested in, you can try contacting the authors. $\endgroup$ – Alberto Franzin Sep 12 '19 at 6:47
  • $\begingroup$ Received the login today after a second request. looks very promising - but I guess I will accept Philip's answer because it is extremely convenient with a single reference. $\endgroup$ – CMichael Sep 12 '19 at 17:34

The Concorde TSP solver comes with a nice GUI which visualizes the optimal TSP tour. Moreover, it also has several TSP-heuristics such as Greedy, Nearest Neighbor or Random-generation implemented. This makes it easy to visually compare heuristics and optimal solutions. According to their website the solver "has been used to obtain the optimal solutions to the full set of 110 TSPLIB instances, the largest having 85,900 cities."

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    $\begingroup$ I probably was a little unclear - I am not so much interested in implementations but rather in problems which I want my students to tackle and solve. $\endgroup$ – CMichael Sep 3 '19 at 9:12

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