On the afternoon of 17 May, junior students' Mth203 Operational Research poster exhibition was held in the School of Mathematical Physics. More than 200 students participated in the poster exhibition, displaying 43 posters, covering research results on developing algorithms for large Mixed Integer Programming (MIP) problems and modelling shared electric vehicle planning, attracting more than 60 other students and teachers to visit and interact.
A boisterous and energetic atmosphere of discussion was evident - students were enthusiastically sharing their projects with each other, reporting their research and chatting about their topics with the teachers.
Team 18, consisting of four junior students, Jiayi Liu, Wenxin Liu, Zimi Chen and Jingkai Wang, focused on the optimal planning of the sequencing of sports events based on integer planning.
"The overall idea of our group is to make an integer programming model for studying how to coordinate the timing of the Games in the most appropriate way. Because there are cases where athletes may be overly tired due to continuous participation in events, we constructed a MIP problem by analogising the relationship in the integer programming model to the level of exertion of athletes participating in continuous events.”
"It is also a classic Traveling salesman problem, where we analogised the number of students participating in two consecutive projects to the distance between cities, and based on this, we built a TSP model to make optimal planning for the sequencing of projects for the Games." Jingkai Wang described.
The students said this group poster examination was more lively and interesting than the traditional examination format and could better stimulate them to innovate and study their own topics in depth. At the same time, they also encountered many difficulties during the process, from creating the model overview to the final model report, which took nearly two weeks. They even stayed up all night together three times. But in the end, it was very fulfilling to look at the results.
"Our initial ideas were very primitive and naive, but it was good to have the opportunity to discuss them with our teachers during office hours, who gave us their valuable advice based on the content and structure of the poster, which helped us a lot."
Dr Min Wen and Dr Zhang Ruonan from the Department of Applied Mathematics are the teachers of MTH203 and the event's initiators. They said that the poster exhibition was organised to increase students' participation in the course and hoped that by presenting the posters, teachers and students could have a clear and comprehensive understanding of the projects. In addition, the support of the School of Mathematics and Physics and the Department of Applied Mathematics for this event is also appreciated.
"We hope that students will not just focus on the exam questions, but will be able to be creative and broaden their horizons, delve into mathematical problems of interest themselves and outline them through the display."
Associate Vice President for Research and Impact and the Dean of the School of Mathematics and Physics, Professor Fei Ma, noted the activity as a superb example of research-based teaching and learning. Students' critical thinking and creativity skills were strengthened through project research, teacher guidance, and group work. This encouraged their in-depth learning and independent development, which improved their academic skills.
By Yichang Wang
Edited, Translated by Qinru Liu