Minimizing Cost while Meeting Nutritional Needs -- An example of linear programming
- set up a simplified dietary model using two foods and two nutrition requirements in the form of a linear programming (LP) model.
- use Excel Solver to solve the problem.
- explore the model of the simplified dietary problem through what-if questions.
In the process, the students will
- learn how to develop a LP model.
- learn how to solve and analyze a LP model.
Context for Use
This module was designed originally for the first two class periods in an Introduction to Operations Research course. It could also be used after students have studied linear inequalities and linear functions. It is advisable that students have basic Excel skills, such as modifying cells, or writing formula.
The first portion of module (background information and simplified dietary model) could be done in lecture form, but it is important to conduct the Excel Solver in a lab. The activity can easily be expanded to a larger model using the data set provided.
If students are comfortable with linear inequalities and basic Excel, the module can also be used as the basis of a project.
Description and Teaching Materials
This module is a PowerPoint presentation with embedded spreadsheets. Students work though the presentation, answering questions and developing the spreadsheet. If the embedded spreadsheets are not visible, save the PowerPoint file to a disk and open it from there.
This PowerPoint file is the student version of the module. An instructor version is available by request. The instructor version includes the completed spreadsheet. Send your request to Len Vacher (firstname.lastname@example.org) by filling out and submitting the Instructor Module Request Form.
Teaching Notes and Tips
Students will be asked to answer several what-if questions.