Contents of Master courses

For our Master courses, you subsequently find a short description which can help you to assess the topics to be covered in the respective courses. For courses with a limited number of participants, the application details are published on the respective course website approximately 2 months before course begin.

The assignment of the courses to the 4 OR Master modules

  • Operations Research in Supply Chain Management (Coordinator: Prof. Nickel)
  • Service Operations (Coordinator: Prof. Nickel)
  • Mathematical Optimization (Coordinator: Prof. Stein)
  • Stochastic Optimization (Coordinator: Prof. Rebennack)

can be looked up in the Master course offer of the IOR.


Operations Research in Supply Chain Management (English)

Supply Chain Management constitutes a general tool for logistics process planning in supply networks. To an increasing degree quantitative decision support is provided by methods and models from Operations Research. The lecture "OR in Supply Chain Management" conveys concepts and approaches for solving practical problems and presents an insight to current research topics. The lecture's focus is set on modeling and solution methods for applications originating in different domains of a supply chain. The emphasis is put on mathematical methods like mixed integer programming, valid inequalities or column generation, and the derivation of optimal solution strategies. In form and content, the lecture addresses all levels of Supply Chain Management: After a short introduction, the tactical and operational level will be discussed with regard to inventory models, scheduling as well as cutting and packing. The strategic level will be discussed in terms of layout planning. Another main focus of the lecture is the application of methods from online optimization. This optimization discipline has gained more and more importance in the optimization of supply chains over the several past years due to an increasing amount of dynamic data flows.


Operations Research in Health Care Management (English)

The lecture deals with applying Operations Research methods to planning problems in health care. First, the German health care system is discussed to understand the actors and institutions' responsibilities and the financing principles. Here, we concentrate on hospitals. Reforms in the health care systems have put hospitals under ever-increasing cost and competitive pressure in recent years. For example, the introduction of diagnosis-related groups (DRG), a medical-service-based reimbursement, has abolished the principle of cost coverage to create incentives for the economic behavior that was often lacking in the past. The overall goal is to achieve a sustainable improvement in the quality, transparency, and cost-effectiveness of inpatient services in hospitals. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze existing processes and, if necessary, to make them more efficient. For this purpose, Operations Research offers numerous methods. The application of these can lead to significant improvements. However, next to economic efficiency, also treatment quality and patient satisfaction are essential. The lecture will address the following planning problems: appointment scheduling, internal patient transport, operation room planning, rostering and physician scheduling, and layout planning. Finally, we will address location planning (of hospitals, medical practices, ambulance stations, and so on).


Graph Theory and Advanced Location Models (English)

Graph Theory is an important part of Discrete Mathematics. A special attraction is in its clearness and variety of proof techniques. Topic of the first part “Graph Theory” is the mediation of basic graph theoretical concepts and algorithms, which are deployed in many areas of operations research. In focus is the modeling of different problems with graph theoretical methods und their solutions with efficient algorithms. Significant focal points are shortest paths, flows, matchings, colorings and matroids. A variety of application areas of location theory has attracted increasing research interest within the last decades, because location decisions are a critical factor in strategic planning. In the second part “Advanced Location Models”, some current research questions of modern industrial location theory are discussed after a short introduction. Thereby, practical models and suitable solution methods for location problems in general networks are presented. The lecture goes into details about pareto solutions in networks, ordered median problems, covering problems and allocation problems.


Practical Seminar: Health Care Management (limited number of participants)

In our practical seminar on Health Care Management, groups of 2 to 4 students work on problems defined by our partners from the health care sector with the help of operations research methods. Most of the partners are local hospitals and medical practices. Typical challenges concern the improvement of (logistical) processes and the associated planning of patient flows and resources. Often, the exact definition of the problem is part of the practical seminar. First, the existing processes must be analyzed, and corresponding data needs to be collected and evaluated. This data then serves as input for operations research models. Methods like mathematical optimization, queueing theory and/or simulation, using software such as CPLEX optimization studio or Anylogic, are often used. Finally, the students must prepare the results, interpret them, and derive possible recommendations for action. The results must be summarized in a written paper and presented at the chair and the partners.


Modeling and OR Software: Advanced Topics (limited number of participants)

The advanced course is designated for Master students that already attended the introductory course or gained equivalent experience elsewhere, e.g. during a seminar or bachelor thesis. We will work on advanced topics and methods in OR, among others cutting planes, column generation and constraint programming. The Software used for the exercises is IBM ILOG CPLEX Optimization Studio. The associated modelling progamming languages are OPL and ILOG Script.


Discrete-event Simulation in Production and Logistics (limited number of participants)

Simulation of production and logistics systems is an interdisciplinary subject connecting expert knowledge from production management and operations research with mathematics/statistics as well as computer science and software engineering. With completion of this course, students know statistical foundations of discrete simulation, are able to classify and apply related software applications, and know the relation between simulation and optimization as well as a number of application examples. Furthermore, students are enabled to structure simulation studies and are aware of specific project scheduling issues.


Challenges in Supply Chain Management (English, limited number of participants)

The course consists of case studies of BASF which cover future challenges of supply chain management. Thus, the course aims at a case-study based presentation, critical evaluation and exemplary discussion of recent questions in supply chain management. The focus lies on future challenges and trends, also with regard to their applicability in practical cases (especially in the chemical industry). The main part of the course is working on a project together with BASF in Ludwigshafen. The students get in touch with scientific working: The in-depth work with a special scientific topic makes the students familiar with scientific literature research and argumentation methods. As a further aspect of scientific work, especially for Master students the emphasis is put on a critical discussion of the project topic. This course will include working on cutting edge supply chain topics like Industry 4.0 / “Internet of Everything in production”, supply chain analytics, risk management, procurement and production in SCM. The team essays / project reports will be linked to industry-related challenges as well as to upcoming theoretical concepts. The topics of the seminar will be announced at the beginning of the term in a preliminary meeting.


Demand-Driven Supply Chain Planning (englisch, Teilnehmer-beschränkt)

Supply Chain Management involves the coordination of different parties within and across companies, such as sales and marketing affiliates, manufacturing sites, logistics, suppliers, customers, and wholesalers. With increasing size of an organization and its supply chain structures, global supply chain management (SCM) requires adequate visibility and decision support. Furthermore SCM is today increasingly faced with the need of a new Demand Driven operating model for the highly digital interlinked Supply Chains and the highly volatile and complex business environment becoming the New Normal. Advanced Planning Systems like SAP SCM APO and SAP IBP (Integrated Business Planning) are used to standardize global planning processes and to solve the required planning tasks, such as statistical forecasting, inventory and supply network planning. In many large corporations, they form today the backbone of global supply chain planning. This course discusses how SCM and Demand Driven Adaptive Planning Principals can be supported by integrated business planning systems. Key topics include demand planning, supply network planning, production planning & scheduling, as well as other related topics, such as global availability check, inventory & supply network replenishment.