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Networks are familiar to all of us, as the highways, telephone lines, railways, electric power systems, airline route maps, and more recently, computer and cable television networks that we use constantly in our everyday lives. Networks also arise in other, perhaps less visible settings: manufacturing or distribution networks determine the flow of products through plants or between plants, warehouses, and retail outlets; and networks of interconnected components in integrated semiconductor chips and printed circuit boards provide electronic processing capabilities in thousands of commercial products.
Operational Planning— How do we use a given (distribution, telecommunication, or manufacturing) network as efficiently as possible? In this setting, the underlying network structure (topology and facilities) is known and we need to find the best way to route flow on it. For...
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