GCO4802 Computer Models for Business Decisions , Unit Information Guide (Semester 1, 2006)

Chief Examiner Dr Dengsheng Zhang
Gippsland : Dr Dengsheng Zhang

This unit examines the principles and practice of modelling and analysis of business systems as a support for the decision making activities. At the completion of the subject the student should understand some of the more commonly used computer modelling techniques used in business and industry and be familiar with the applications of these techniques to business related problems using some of the applications software and other related tools. Topics to be studied will include

  • Cost and profit analysis using breakeven technique
  • Common optimisation methods in business applications, such as linear programming and integer programming
  • Sensitivity analysis of linear programming using computer solutions
  • Solutions to traditional business problems, such as transportation, assignment and shortest path problems, using computer models
  • Various aspects of decision making such as decision making under risk, under uncertainty, decision with sample information
  • Multiple goals and multiple parties decision making
  • Waiting lines systems and simulation including Monte Carlo simulation
  • Forecasting technques namely simple exponential smoothing and double exponential smoothing.
Objectives Knowledge and Understanding

Students will have understanding of:

  • Principles and application of computer based business and decision support systems
  • Cost analysis using breakeven technique
  • Main approaches to deal with decision making problems in business
  • Business decisions with multiple criteria
  • Widely used linear programming tools
  • Carrying out sensitivity analysis using relevant computer software on a series of problems
  • Queueing theory and simulation techniques
  • Concepts of different types of forecasting
  • Common optimisation methods for business applications
  • Methodology to solve typical network problems using network flow models


Attitudes, Values and Beliefs
  • Efficiency and productivity gains through the use of technologies
  • Develop strong interests in formalising real world problems and solve them by computer models


Practical Skills
  • Application of spreadsheets such as EXCEL in solving common business decison problems
  • Use of dedicated software such as Excel QM, TreePlan, CrystalBall program
  • Sensitivity analysis by use of computer models


Relationships, Communication and TeamWork
  • Meet peer students and professionals with variety of business expertise
  • Participate in group discussion and team work solutions to business problems



Before attempting this unit you must have satisfactorily completed MAT1097 or have equivalent knowledge of fundamental algebra and stochastic methods.

Students must meet the entry requirements of the Master of Information Technology or the Master of Business Systems.

Unit relationships

GCO4802 is a elective unit of Master of Information Technology and Master of Business Systems.

The business models in GCO4802 are related to several other units in master degree, including GCO4806, GCO4803, GCO5802, GCO5804, GCO5807 and BUS9530.

Texts and software

Required text(s)

Text Book

Taylor, B.W. III, Introduction to Management Science, 8th edition, Prentice Hall, 2004, ISBN: 0-13-122932-X.

Text books are available from the Monash University Book Shops. Availability from other suppliers cannot be assured. The Bookshop orders texts in specifically for this unit. You are advised to purchase your text book early.

Software requirements:

The three Excel based software packages: Excel QM, Crystal Ball and TreePlan are included in the prescribed text book.

Hardware requirements:

Students studying off-campus are required to have the minimum system configuration specified by the faculty as a condition of accepting admission, and regular Internet access. On-campus students, and those studying at supported study locations may use the facilities available in the computing labs. Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook. You will need to allocate up to n hours per week for use of a computer, including time for newsgroups/discussion groups.

Recommended reading


  • Willis, R.J. Business Modelling, Eruditions Publishing, 1998.
  • Pinney, W.E. Quantative methods for management with decision support software, 1999.
  • Brealey, R.A. and Myers, S.C. Principles of Corporate Finance, 7th edition, McGraw-Hill Inc., 2003.
  • Newbold, P. and Bos, T. Introductory Business & Economic Forecasting, South-Western Publishing Co., 1994.
  • Davis, K. R., McKeown, P. G., Rakes, T. R., Management Science, An Introduction, Kent publishing, 1986.


Library access You may need to access the Monash library either personally to be able to satisfactorily complete the subject.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.
Study resources

Study resources for GCO4802 are:

  • A printed Unit Book containing 7 Study Guides (120 pages), sent from CeLTS
  • This Unit Information outlining the administrative information for the unit
  • A CD-ROM bundled with the prescribed text book providing the required software for this unit
  • The FIT2033 web site, where lecture slides, weekly tutorial requirements, assignment specifications and sample solutions will be posted
  • Newsgroups that can be linked to from the Unit Homepage

Structure and organisation



Study Guide


1 Introduction to Management Science Part 1. pp.5-12 Chapter 1 of text book
2 Linear Programming Part 2. pp.22 Chapter 2 of text book
3 Linear Programming: Computer Solution and Sensitivity Analysis Part 2. pp.22 Chapter 3 of text book
4 Integer Programming Part 2. pp.22 Chapter 5 of text book
5 Transportation and Assignment Problems Part 3. pp.25-32 Chapter 6 of text book
6 Shortest Path and Minimal Spanning Tree Problems Part 3. pp.32-37 Chapter 7 of text book
7 Multicriteria Decision Making Part 5. pp.73-88 Chapter 9 of text book
8 Decision Analysis I Part 4. pp.39-57 Chapter 11, 12 of text book.
9 Decision Analysis II Part 4. pp.57-71 Chapter 11, 12 of text book.
10 Queuing Analysis Part 6. 89-102 Chapter 13 of text book.
11 Monte Carlo Simulation Part 6. 102-112 Chapter 14 of text book.
12 Forecasting Part 7. pp.112-118 Chapter 15 of text book.
13 Exam Preparation Part 1--Part 7 All related chapters of the text book

The timetable for on-campus classes for this unit can be viewed in Allocate+


Assessment for the unit consists of 2 assignments with a weighting of 30% and an examination with a weighting of 70%. Read this section VERY carefully.

Assessment Policy

To pass this unit you must:

  • attempt all assignments and the examination
  • score at least 50% of the possible marks for the unit
  • achieve no less than 40% of the total available marks for the assignments overall, and the examination
Assignment specifications will be posted on the FIT2033 website Assignments Page. Students will be notified that assignments are available on the Notices Newsgroup.

Your score for the unit will be calculated by:


Final grade (%) = min (A + 10, E + 10, E * R + A * (1 - R))

Where A = Overall assignment percentage E = Examination percentage R = Exam weighting

Assessment Requirements


Due Date


Assignment 1 20 April, 2006 15 %
Assignment 2 30 May, 2006 15 %
Examination 70 %

Assignment specifications will be made available at GCO4802 web site. Information about assignments will be published on the Unit's Notices Newsgroup.

Assignment Submission Methods

Assignments MUST be submitted through the WebFace Assignment Submission System.

Extensions and late submissions

Late submission of assignments

Assignments received after the due date will be subjected to a penalty of one grade per per day or part thereof up to one week late. Assignments received later than one week after the due date will not be accepted.

This policy is strict because comments or guidance will be given on assignments as they are returned, and sample solutions may also be published and distributed, after assignment marking or with the returned assignment. 


It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are seldom regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. 

Requests for extensions must be made by email at least two days before the due date. You will be asked to forward original medical certificates in cases of illness, and may be asked to provide other forms of documentation where necessary.

Contact the Unit Adviser by email to request extensions. Anyone who requests for extension MUST provide your username so the lecturer can locate in the system!

Grading of assessment

Assignments, and the unit, will be marked and allocated a grade according to the following scale:

HD High Distinction - very high levels of achievement, demonstrated knowledge and understanding, skills in application and high standards of work encompassing all aspects of the tasks.
In the 80+% range of marks for the assignment.
D Distinction - high levels of achievement, but not of the same standards. May have a weakness in one particular aspect, or overall standards may not be quite as high.
In the 70-79% range.
C Credit - sound pass displaying good knowledge or application skills, but some weaknesses in the quality, range or demonstration of understanding.
In the 60-69% range.
P Pass - acceptable standard, showing an adequate basic knowledge, understanding or skills, but with definite limitations on the extent of such understanding or application. Some parts may be incomplete.
In the 50-59% range.
N Not satisfactory -  failure to meet the basic requirements of the assessment.
Below 50%.

We will aim to have assignment results made available to you within two weeks after assignment receipt.

Feedback Feedback to you

You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This feedback may be provided through your participation in tutorials and class discussions, as well as through your assignment submissions. It may come in the form of individual advice, marks and comments, or it may be provided as comment or reflection targeted at the group. It may be provided through personal interactions, such as interviews and on-line forums, or through other mechanisms such as on-line self-tests and publication of grade distributions.

Feedback from you

You will be asked to provide feedback to the Faculty through a Unit Evaluation survey at the end of the semester. You may also be asked to complete surveys to help teaching staff improve the unit and unit delivery. Your input to such surveys is very important to the faculty and the teaching staff in maintaining relevant and high quality learning experiences for our students.

And if you are having problems

It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem with your study. The semester is short, so we can help you best if you let us know as soon as problems arise. Regardless of whether the problem is related directly to your progress in the unit, if it is likely to interfere with your progress you should discuss it with your lecturer or a Community Service counsellor as soon as possible.

Plagiarism and cheating

Plagiarism and cheating are regarded as very serious offences. In cases where cheating  has been confirmed, students have been severely penalised, from losing all marks for an assignment, to facing disciplinary action at the Faculty level. While we would wish that all our students adhere to sound ethical conduct and honesty, I will ask you to acquaint yourself with Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Faculty regulations that apply to students detected cheating as these will be applied in all detected cases.

In this University, cheating means seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in any examination or any other written or practical work to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. It includes the use, or attempted use, of any means to gain an unfair advantage for any assessable work in the unit, where the means is contrary to the instructions for such work. 

When you submit an individual assessment item, such as a program, a report, an essay, assignment or other piece of work, under your name you are understood to be stating that this is your own work. If a submission is identical with, or similar to, someone else's work, an assumption of cheating may arise. If you are planning on working with another student, it is acceptable to undertake research together, and discuss problems, but it is not acceptable to jointly develop or share solutions unless this is specified by your lecturer. 

Intentionally providing students with your solutions to assignments is classified as "assisting to cheat" and students who do this may be subject to disciplinary action. You should take reasonable care that your solution is not accidentally or deliberately obtained by other students. For example, do not leave copies of your work in progress on the hard drives of shared computers, and do not show your work to other students. If you believe this may have happened, please be sure to contact your lecturer as soon as possible.

Cheating also includes taking into an examination any material contrary to the regulations, including any bilingual dictionary, whether or not with the intention of using it to obtain an advantage.

Plagiarism involves the false representation of another person's ideas, or findings, as your own by either copying material or paraphrasing without citing sources. It is both professional and ethical to reference clearly the ideas and information that you have used from another writer. If the source is not identified, then you have plagiarised work of the other author. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is insulting to the reader and grossly unfair to your student colleagues.


The main communicaction with the lecturer will be through the unit web site. All teaching materials will be available on the unit web site, including lecture slides, tutorials, assignments, newsgroups. However, on campus consultation is also provided, consultation time will be announced after the semester starts.


Notices related to the unit during the semester will be placed on the Notices Newsgroup in the Unit Website. Check this regularly. Failure to read the Notices newsgroup is not regarded as grounds for special consideration.

Consultation Times

If direct communication with your unit adviser/lecturer or tutor outside of consultation periods is needed you may contact the lecturer and/or tutors at:

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All email communication to you from your lecturer will occur through your Monash student email address. Please ensure that you read it regularly, or forward your email to your main address. Also check that your contact information registered with the University is up to date in My.Monash.

Last updated: Feb 27, 2006