You really wrote the algorithm for FedEx? Thats amazing!I read your whole post but I'm not sure exactly what you don't like about the class other than you seem to think learning Discrete Optimization in general is a waste of time because theres more lucrative problems much easier to solve.Care to briefly elaborate on what you dislike about this course specifically (it does appear that Simplex is covered)?

 Part IIIIn the end, it's super important to be the guy who OWNS a business and SELLS the results. E.g., for optimization, maybe develop the software for free, show the results and the savings, and then ask to get paid a fraction of the savings. Let's see, long ago one commercial airline was spending \$89 million a month on jet fuel. I can believe \$200 million a month now, also for FedEx. From a fast Google, get to`````` http://www.transtats.bts.gov/fuel.asp `````` with data for US airlines`````` 2013 April 847.5 2,432.4 `````` or 847.5 million gallons costing \$2,432.4 million dollars in April, 2013.Save 15% of \$200 million a month and get paid 20% of the savings and get paid \$6 million a month, from just one customer. And it's an easy sale: Take case A, what they are doing now, and cost it out. Then take case B, from optimization. Then compare costs. Simple. Compelling. Maybe not still compelling now, but would have been for much of the history of FedEx.But, for my doing an in-house effort, Smith didn't take the work very seriously. Right, in the next year I might have burned off \$50,000 in VM/CMS time sharing computer charges. Right. But jet fuel is expensive, too.> it does appear that Simplex is coveredYes, of course, the course will have to, but the introductory lecture didn't emphasize that.In a sense, simplex is dirt simple -- just elementary row operations very much like in Gaussian elimination but, using the 'reduced costs', selected to make money at each iteration in, if you wish, a 'greedy' way. But there's more, e.g., some surprising points about moving along edges of a closed convex set, from an intersection of finitely many closed half spaces, from extreme point to extreme point. For the course, discrete and combinatorial optimization, really should know simplex quite well; it promises to be the core of the course. Also, again, simplex is worst case exponential!For the career prospects of the course, only a tiny fraction of college courses have good, immediate, direct career contributions. So, I can't be offended that the OP's course does not have really good career contributions. But I am offended that the OP tried to claim that his optimization was so important that there would be good career prospects. Sure, Bixby (of C-PLEX) bought a nice house in Houston, but mostly I'm still looking for the yachts, or even the nice houses, of optimization experts. Heck, even job ads would be reassuring.I have one of the best Ph.D. degrees in optimization, and it has been essentially useless for my career. The core reason is, the business guys with the projects and budgets don't understand optimization, have no respect for it, and don't want to bet part of their careers on it. There's usually little or no downside for ignoring optimization. For pushing a project in optimization and failing, there's a lot of downside. For being successful, there will likely be resentment, attacks from other managers who feel threatened, etc. and otherwise no great upside. So optimization projects are about as popular as a skunk at a garden party.One final war story: Long the dean of engineering at MIT was T. Magnanti, an expert in optimization. Once he gave a Goldman Lecture at Hopkins on optimization of the design of large IP networks. From some old Bell Labs data (from some work likely close to the book with the cartoon), optimization should be able to save ballpark 15% of network capital expense; worthwhile money if can get it.So, at one time there was a start up in Plano, TX attacking this problem. At the time, so was I. So, the TX people flew me down for an interview. They had some venture funding, and it may be that some of the people who met me were the venture partners. The company's main optimization guy from SMU had just bowed out. The CEO was a former IBM guy, and they flew me down partly because of my role at FedEx and also because I'd been at IBM's Watson lab.So, I arrive. I'm met at the door by the CEO, the IBM guy. Right away he scowls, and I never see him again. Why? Because I didn't know his name (I'd had no communications with him), and my handshake was not impressive enough. He desperately needed some good expertise in optimization, e.g., in a back room had a high end PC with a copy of C-PLEX gathering dust while his people were trying total enumeration, but he wanted nothing to do with me. I'm not that hard to take, not even while tired from a plane trip and driving from the Dallas airport to Plano.The point was, he was convinced that his IBM white shirt and IBM salesman handshake were what were crucial for his company and that my background in optimization was, well, whatever but likely not really good like a handshake. He had no respect for optimization. Soon he was 'promoted' to just a Board slot.My background in optimization? Did I mention Goldman? He was the Chair of the committee that approved my Ph.D. research. On the committee was C. ReVelle, world expert in optimization for facility location (mentioned by the OP). Also on the committee was J. Cohon, world expert in multi-objective optimization and long President at CMU. My research was from a suggestion in three words by G. Nemhauser, world expert in optimization. One paper I'd published solved some long outstanding questions in the Kuhn-Tucker conditions in optimization and solved a problem stated in the famous paper by Arrow, Hurwicz, and Uzawa. I went through one of the best Ph.D. programs in optimization on the planet. Still, the CEO in TX wanted nothing to do with me. And, really, after my Ph.D., neither did FedEx.When I left FedEx, I'd saved the company twice and for more had identified, formulated, done good first-cut progress on, and presented the three optimization problems, fleet scheduling, fuel buying, and vertical flight planning. All I needed was a little consulting money and a good VM/CMS time sharing account from my home in Maryland, but that was not enough to get Smith impressed. So, I lost, and so did Smith and FedEx.In business, optimization is a Rodney Dangerfield field -- it "don't get no respect". So, if exploit optimization, then do it for your own company or sell just the results based on the savings obtained: Since the 'suits' are convinced that optimization can't save much, when the contract is signed they will believe that they won't have to pay much. When they have to pay \$6 million a month, they will be surprised and pleased by how much they are saving but bitter and furious at the \$6 million a month they are signed up to pay.There is a secret in business: To get paid well without too much resentment, jealousy, etc. from others, get paid in ways that others don't really know how much you are making. So, if some big company has to pay you \$6 million a month, even if you are saving them \$30 million a month, they likely will be torqued; but if can get the \$6 million a month from several ad networks from running many millions of ads, then no one will get torqued.