Smart Decisions

Course Code Offering Department(s) Units & Hours
GCNU1026 MATH (3,3,0)
Download the course syllabus

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

What do the students say about this course?

The content is solid, and well explanation. However, it’d be better if the linkage between the knowledge and the daily practice is stronger to make the numeracy course more practical. For instance how can we apply the theory in normal time, etc.

Full Text
Year 3 student from CMED


Notes for all GE courses

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