# GCNU1026

Smart Decisions

### What is the course about?

GCNU1026 focuses on finding the best way to solve a given problem—the so-called operations research, management science, or optimization methods. We begin with a walk-through to help students see the hidden mathematics, or mathematical model, behind seemingly unrelated real-life situations, such as, “What is the quickest way check out a shopping mall or a tourist area?” While small-scaled problems can usually be solved by intuition or trial-and-error, a logical and systematical approach must be used to tackle the large-scaled ones. One of our main goals is to generalize the concept of “function” learned in high school and extend its applications to real-life problems. Students will learn that functions can take in different inputs other than real numbers; for examples, the route one decides to go around in the shopping mall is an input. Identifying the appropriate “function” is highly situational-dependent which is exactly where students can build the connections between real-life and mathematics. Instead of presenting cookbook-procedures as is (which we find dull, meaningless, and inflexible), we will help students understand all motivations behind the solution process; say, “How hard is the problem really?” For difficult ones (even with today’s speedy computers), it makes sense to go with the second-best or near-optimal approach than insisting on having the “best” way. We hope that this course will help students getting used to “practical-mathematics” and benefit from doing so in their future career achievements.

More information: Course Website

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#### Notes for all GE courses

- You can take a maximum of 6 additional units of GE courses from any categories as electives.