15.053 Optimization Methods in Management Science 
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Undergrad (Spring
Prereq: None
OCW site for 15.053:  
Units: 4-0-8 
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Introduces students to the theory, algorithms, and applications of optimization. The optimization methodologies include linear programming, network optimization, integer programming, and decision trees. Applications to logistics, manufacturing, transportation, marketing, project management, and finance. 
J. B. Orlin


15.058 Optimization Methods in Operations Research 
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Graduate (SpringH-Level Grad Credit 
Prereq: 18.06 or permission of instructor 
Units: 4-0-8 
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Provides an introduction to optimization, building upon the fundamentals of linear algebra. Covers optimization methodologies, including linear programming, network optimization, integer programming, and decision trees. Applications to logistics, manufacturing, transportation, marketing, project management, and finance. 
J. B.  Orlin


How 15.053 differs from 15.058


The subjects are very similar.  The primary difference in content are four or five lectures in 15.058 that rely on the first weeks of linear algebra.  The amount of homework is approximately the same in both subjects, and the grading is roughly the same.  (The grades are not based on a curve.)

The other differences between the classes relate to class composition.  15.058 has approximately half the number of students as 15.053, split roughly equally between graduate students and undergraduates. (Graduate students are not eligible to take 15.053.)  This permits more class interaction in 15.058.

Starting in 2013, there will be additional emphasis on optimization modeling in both subjects, and there will be a course project in both subjects.