Electronic Proceedings of the Twelfth Annual International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics

San Francisco, California, November 4-7, 1999

Paper C023

Solving a Nonlinear Optimization Problem Using Excel

Revathi Narasimhan

Department of Mathematics
Saint Peter's College
2641 Kennedy Blvd.
Jersey City, NJ 07306
Phone: (908) 233-7399

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We discuss a nonlinear optimization problem arising in steel production. The problem centers on optimizing production of a steel slab, given constraints on the cross-sectional area and aspect ratio. Such a problem arises in continuous casting of steel products, an intermediate step in the manufacture of steel. The resulting nonlinear optimization problem can be analyzed computationally using the powerful features of Excel Solver.

In the paper, we discuss how to set up the problem in the spreadsheet and how it can be used as a teaching tool in a mathematical modeling course. An Excel workbook covering all aspects of this example accompanies the paper.

Keyword(s): optimization, spreadsheets