Networks Project

The Operations Research Department at the Naval Postgraduate School educates experienced junior military officers in state-of-the-art operations research methods. As part of theeducational program all officers go through a standard graduate course on network modeling.Within that course, students complete a class-long network modeling project of a real-worldinfrastructure system that solidifies their understanding of operations research concepts andmoves the learning experience beyond the classroom. Through the project, students abstracttheir real-world problems into mathematics, repeatedly evaluate the connection between themathematics and reality, and reason about the model results. The project has educational, research, and practical benefits. On occasion, students make discoveries of such significance thatwe have contacted the infrastructure system operators with briefings on the student analysisresults. Some student projects have eventually influenced Department of Homeland Securityand Department of Defense policy. We detail what makes the network modeling project work,and how to implement it in other universities.


Nedialko B. Dimitrov, Gerald Brown, and Matthew Carlyle. A Real-World Network Modeling Project. INFORMS Transactions on Education, August 2013, doi:10.1287/ited.2013.0113

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