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Linear Programming

Linear Programming involves creating a function that represents a real life problem. The aim is to optimise this function given certain constraints. Simple examples of linear programming will have few variables and constraints, however, real life situations will have many more variables and constraints that will...

Critical Path Analysis

Critical path analysis is a project management technique and is used to lay out all of the activities which are needed to complete a task. Starting some activities will depend on completing others first, while independent activities can be started any time. Critical path analysis helps to predict the project...

Travelling Salesperson

The aim of a travelling salesperson problem is to visit every vertex of the network and return to the starting vertex using the route that has the minimum total weight. The problem requires students to find the best route for a courier to take to deliver parcels to a number of towns and return back to base.

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Route Inspection

The aim of the route inspection problem is to find a route that is as short as possible yet goes down every road once and returns to the starting point. The task informs students that there has been a heavy snowfall overnight and that the students are required to clear the roads in the town centre as quickly as...

Planarity

Many topological graphs have edges that cross. The aim is to re-draw the graph in such a way that none of the edges cross. The task informs students they are required to design a printed circuit board and since the wires are not insulated they must not cross.

Planarity: presentation - an...

Minimum Spanning Tree

The aim of a minimum spanning tree is to connect every vertex of the network using the edges having the least possible total weight. The task requires students to analyse information about a town centre and suggest which roads should be pedestrianized. [

Minimum spanning tree: presentation...

Matchings

A matching is a set of edges on a bipartite graph in which no two edges share a common vertex. A bipartite graph consists of two sets of vertices X and Y. The edges only join vertices in X to vertices in Y. A matching in a bipartite graph is the pairing of some or all of the vertices in X with some or all of the...

Flows

The network flow problem involves finding the optimum route through a flow network; a directed graph where each arc has a capacity and each arc receives a flow. Typical examples include: evacuation plans and delivery services. The problem involves students analysing the plan of a school canteen and deciding whether...

Dijkstra's Algorithm

Dijkstra's algorithm finds the shortest path for a given problem. Dijkstra's algorithm can be used to find the shortest route between two cities. This algorithm is so powerful that it not only finds the shortest path from a chosen source to a given destination, it also finds all of the shortest paths from the...

Curved Fold

This resource, from the Royal Institution, provides students with the opportunity to explore the formation of a parabola through a paper folding activity. Students follow a set of simple instructions which describe how to fold a piece of A4 paper and are asked to describe what shape is produced. The activity is...

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