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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Discrete Optimization by The University of Melbourne

4.9
329 ratings
72 reviews

About the Course

Tired of solving Sudokus by hand? This class teaches you how to solve complex search problems with discrete optimization concepts and algorithms, including constraint programming, local search, and mixed-integer programming. Optimization technology is ubiquitous in our society. It schedules planes and their crews, coordinates the production of steel, and organizes the transportation of iron ore from the mines to the ports. Optimization clears the day-ahead and real-time markets to deliver electricity to millions of people. It organizes kidney exchanges and cancer treatments and helps scientists understand the fundamental fabric of life, control complex chemical reactions, and design drugs that may benefit billions of individuals. This class is an introduction to discrete optimization and exposes students to some of the most fundamental concepts and algorithms in the field. It covers constraint programming, local search, and mixed-integer programming from their foundations to their applications for complex practical problems in areas such as scheduling, vehicle routing, supply-chain optimization, and resource allocation....

Top reviews

SK

May 30, 2019

Exceptional coverage of optimization fundamentals. Learning of practical applied methods. Real university level course, no water down "data science". Absolutely love it! Thank you professor Pascal.

GD

May 02, 2019

I just completed the course. This an amazing course with an Outstanding professor and highly interesting, although difficult, assignments. Thanks for this! I am proud to have finished

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1 - 25 of 68 Reviews for Discrete Optimization

By Amin F

Sep 10, 2017

This is a fun and challenging course! Without doubt the most challenging courses I've ever done in coursera!

I have a few suggestions for anyone who is considering to start this course:

1- You have to be a skillful programmer, be comfortable with algorithm design, tree and graphs structures and recursion. Also a general knowledge of models are useful.

2- You have to have enough patience to watch loooooooong videos (but the professor teaches in a pretty awesome and in times, hilarious ways!)

3- You really need to spend +15 hours per week on this course, not only the videos for each week is long but also each programming assignment will take tremendous amount of your time!

4- And finally you should be tough and not give up and sometimes have the courage to write your code again from scratch after failure!

By Melissa J

Nov 03, 2018

Very difficult. Harder than pretty much all of the courses I've taken in college, more or less, based on how much material is covered and the amount of research you have to do on top of the lectures in order to just get a passing grade on the assignments. Definitely a grad level course, probably harder than most grad level courses I've taken in college just for the amount of effort needed to get a perfect score on all assignments (unfortunately it depends on how good of a computer you have to run your solutions). The challenge just makes it even more fun. Lectures barely covers anything needed to do the assignments, which just gives you a surface level introduction to the concepts needed to solve the problems. The discussion forum is crucial to getting good guidance on how to solve the problems. Pretty much all of the assignments involved doing your own research and reading a bunch of problem-related research papers to figure out what you want to use for your own implementations. I had a blast learning, and thank you so much for offering this course on coursera.

By Max B

Jan 24, 2017

This course is absoutely excellent. It has really time consuming and challenging programming assignments, but I learned more than I have in a long while. I could not recommend this course more highly, and I have completed 20+ MOOCs. This is one of the best ones by far. :D

By Zhu L

Jul 04, 2017

I guess this could be the most challenging course I've had on Coursera.

1, almost all assignments are NP-hard combinatorial optimization problems.

2, data scale can be huge, assessment criteria can be strict.

3. choosing between CP, MIP solver and all kinds of stochastic and meta-heuristic algorithms is fun, gives you the chance to learn both with hands-on experience.

4. even discouraged from doing so, you'll still read a lot of research papers, about 20+ for me.

5. several thousands of SLOC to be expected, if you're honest with yourself.

6. even if you're looking to cheat your way through, you still need solid programming ability and understanding of the problem to do it, so don't bother, why ruin all the fun?

7. the facility location problem drove me nuts.

8. randomization is Pandora's box.

By Greg K

Dec 23, 2018

The most challenging course that I've ever enrolled in. The instruction videos are just a 30% of what it takes to get perfect score on the assignments. Its the only course that I feel it was totally worth the time trying to complete it at 100%. Amazing instructor, and I'm totally gonna keep and revisit all of the course videos.

By Philippe C

Jul 19, 2018

Great course, very challenging as problems are NP-hard and hence force you to find the right approaches for various problem set sizes. After a while, you get hooked and tried to find better and better solutions, reviewing videos for overlooked information, looking at research papers and available resources on the net. Programming times are only a minimum and I spent much more time than indicated.

By Paweł W

Sep 01, 2018

Most difficult on-line course I've ever had. Demanding and engaging at the same time. Good luck to people without IT background :D.

By Ka H ( C

Jan 30, 2019

Good Course, I had learn a lot of concept of optimization

By olivier h

Nov 30, 2018

I love it so much. Rather challenging , but excellent as it is clear and pushes you to improve in the fields you need (maths, modelization , programming, algorithms)

By ido h

Mar 22, 2019

pascal the professor can explain anything in a way that anyone can understand

By khalid d

Sep 04, 2018

i wish there was 6 start rating so i can give this prof his due, he made a very complicated subject look very simple and easy to understand thanks a million

By Anders A

Sep 19, 2018

This is my fifth or sixt online course on coursera, and it is without a doubt the best one I have done. Apart from the little goofy start with Indiana Jones, I simple loved the course. There was a lot of useful material covering what would have been several courses at my university. The assignments were challenging, sometimes frustrating, but really fun as well. I had a lot of fun doing this course.

By Lê B C

Oct 02, 2018

useful for optimize researcher

By Paul E

Jul 22, 2017

Great course, the teacher is very clear and often goes into sufficient depth for the student to understand concepts.

Assignments are challenging and help understanding course content.

By Xin W

Jul 16, 2017

Awesome course, learned a lot for solving NP hard problem. It could be hard for people without basic algorithm and data structure background.

By Ioan A C

Nov 24, 2016

While doing Tim Roughgarden's Algorithms course (https://www.coursera.org/specializations/algorithms) I became interested about the topic of solving NP-hard problems and wanted more. That's how I bumped into this course. I'm VERY happy I did. I never had so much fun programming since I was in high school. The assignments are tough and time consuming and super addictive. Don't be surprised if you find yourself at 5:00 AM trying to squeeze a slightly better solution then what you currently have.

The course covers a lot of material: constraint programming, local search heuristics and meta-heuristics, linear and mixed integer programming. I think each of these topics could be extended and made into separate course. If you want to get a thorough understanding of all of the presented topics, you're gonna have to go through the additional materials. However, prof. Pascal Van Hentenryck is an excellent teacher so even though you don't have a thorough understanding of everything, things are gonna make sense and feel very natural and intuitive. Dr. Carleton Coffrin is also very active on the forums, constantly answering questions or encouraging interesting conversations. I've never seen a MOOC which such actively involved staff.

Bottom line, if you have10+ hours/week and you like CS, definitely take this one.

By Marcin W

Dec 23, 2016

One of the best and most interesting courses I have taken a part in. Very demanding and frustrating sometimes but absolutely brilliant. Interesting lectures, problems to solve, etc. Small improvement in my opinion can be achieved in two areas:

1. I could not get used to instructor's showmanship and he sometimes covers up the slides.

2. I would suggest changing submission format not to post code but solution. In this case we would not be limited in programming language's choice.

By 臧泽林

Aug 02, 2017

good, good, but some difficult

By Xushegndong

Apr 18, 2018

I love this course!

By Josep d R

Nov 16, 2016

Really interesting and engaging

By Adam K

Nov 20, 2016

Great course, enjoyed each hour.

By Ernee K F

Jul 28, 2017

Well structured course, with meaningful and challeging problems.

By Rishiraj S R

Mar 29, 2017

Very thorough and nice course. Prof. Pascal can make even very difficult things funny and interesting!!

By Marcin K

Oct 09, 2017

superb !!!!!!!

By Kullawat C

Mar 12, 2017

Very interesting course with challenging programming assignments