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Previous Student Evaluations of this unit

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Required Resources

You will be using the MiniZinc modelling language.

This is available from: http://www.g12.csse.unimelb.edu.au/minizinc/

Unit Schedule

Week Date* Activities Assessment
0 21/02/11   No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0
1 28/02/11 Introduction to constrained optimization  
2 07/03/11 Modelling with MiniZinc Assignment 1 handed out
3 14/03/11 Linear Programming  
4 21/03/11 Mixed Integer Programming (MIP)  
5 28/03/11 Network Simplex  
6 04/04/11 Constraint Propagation (CP)  
7 11/04/11 SAT techniques and planning applications  
8 18/04/11 Heuristic search methods Assignment 1 due 21 April 2011
Mid semester break
9 02/05/11 Non-Linear Programming (NLP) Assignment 2 handed out
10 09/05/11 Local and stochastic search methods  
11 16/05/11 Tabu search and evolutionary methods  
12 23/05/11 Research directions in constrained optimization Assignment 2 due 27 May 2011
  30/05/11   No formal assessment is undertaken SWOT VAC

*Please note that these dates may only apply to Australian campuses of Monash University. Off-shore students need to check the dates with their unit leader.

Assessment Policy

To pass a unit which includes an examination as part of the assessment a student must obtain:

  • 40% or more in the unit's examination, and
  • 40% or more in the unit's total non-examination assessment, and
  • an overall unit mark of 50% or more.

If a student does not achieve 40% or more in the unit examination or the unit non-examination total assessment, and the total mark for the unit is greater than 50% then a mark of no greater than 49-N will be recorded for the unit

Assessment Tasks


Students are expected to attend lectures and tutorials. However this is not mandatory.

  • Assessment task 1
    Assignment 1 - Modelling with MiniZinc
    In this assignment students will model a relatively simple constrained optimization problem using MiniZinc. They will be rquired to create models that work with a variety of different underlying solving techniques: MIP, CP and SAT.

    They will need to construct test data and then evaluate their models with this data.

    Produce a written report that describes their models, test data and the results of the evaluation. The report should also try and explain reasons for differences in behaviour of these models.
    Criteria for assessment:

    The quality of the models: correctness, efficiency, clarity and documentation.

    The quality of the test data: coverage.

    The quality of the written report including the quality of the evaluation and analysis of the differences in behaviour.

    Due date:
    21 April 2011
  • Assessment task 2
    Assignment 2 - Building an Automated Planning system using SAT, Heuristic Search and/or NLP techniques
    In this assignment students will investigate certain planning domains from the International Planning Competition. They will build a system to encode planning problems from that domain into SAT, Heuristic Search and / or non-linear programming formulations, which can then be solved using the aforementioned techniques.

    Students will need to show that their system works as desired (can discover reasonable plans) on a number of different problems (of increasing difficulty) from the chosen domain.

    Students will need to produce a written report describing their system and their evaluation of it.
    50 %
    Criteria for assessment:

    The quality of the planning system: its ability to find reasonable plans, its speed, and the type (complexity) of problems it can deal with.

    The quality of the written report including the quality of the evaluation and analysis.

    Due date:
    27 May 2011


Assignment submission

Assignment coversheets are available via "Student Forms" on the Faculty website: http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/forms/
You MUST submit a completed coversheet with all assignments, ensuring that the plagiarism declaration section is signed.

Extensions and penalties

Returning assignments

Resubmission of assignments

Resubmission is not allowed unless special consideration applies in which case the course leaders may allow the student to resubmit an assignment.


Monash has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University's academic standards, and to provide advice on how they might uphold them. You can find Monash's Education Policies at:

Key educational policies include:

Student services

The University provides many different kinds of support services for you. Contact your tutor if you need advice and see the range of services available at www.monash.edu.au/students The Monash University Library provides a range of services and resources that enable you to save time and be more effective in your learning and research. Go to http://www.lib.monash.edu.au or the library tab in my.monash portal for more information. Students who have a disability or medical condition are welcome to contact the Disability Liaison Unit to discuss academic support services. Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs) visit all Victorian campuses on a regular basis

Reading List

There are several recommended books for this subject:

  • Introduction to Mathematical Programming. W. L.  Winston. Duxbury Press, 1995.
  • Introduction to Operations Research. F.S. Hillier and G.J. Lieberman. McGraw-Hill, 8th Ed, 2005.
  • Constraint Programming - An Introduction. K. Marriott and P. Stuckey. MIT Press, 1998.
  • Numerical Optimization. J. Nocedal & S. Wright. Springer, 2006.
  • Automated Planning: Theory and Practice. D. Nau, M. Ghallab and P. Traverso. Morgan Kaufmann 2004.

In addition to this, selected research papers will be referenced throughout the unit.
The lecture material will be loosely based on this material and will be available through Moodle.

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