USAGE OF MATHEMATICAL PROGRAMMING MODELS AS A HELPING TOOL IN THE LEARNING PROCESS
Mathematical programming is a decision making tool widely used for the design, operation, and control of engineering systems. Its goal is to identify the optimal solution to a given problem. For that, the problem to be solved must be modeled in such a way that all relevant aspects of the problem are included. This implies the mathematical formulation of the real world. From the pedagogical point of view, the constructing process of mathematical programming models is appealing for two reasons:
(i) it requires the practical implementation of theoretical concepts, and
(ii) it encourages the creativity of students. In the framework of the teaching of topics related to power systems and/or power plants management, this paper proposes a practical activity that consists in constructing mathematical programming models to solve the problem of scheduling the power plants production.
The objective of this activity is to help the students to assimilate concepts related to power system operation approaches, as well as economic and technical aspects of power production means. Once the problem is established, the student has to construct a mathematical programming model to solve it. If the model is erroneous or incomplete, a critical analysis will determine that the solution provided by the model could not be practically implemented, and the student will have to determine what must be corrected or added to the model in order to obtain a practically feasible solution. The proposed activity is designed to be developed according to an active teaching methodology.