Case Studies in Optimization

The teaching event "Case Studies in Discrete Optimization" has been taking place since 2009 and has established itself, together with its partner event "Case Studies in Non-linear Optimization", as a success story. Within the seminar, which takes place every summer term, students can realistically experience how complex mathematical procedures can be used to solve real everyday problems, working together with researchers and businesses and presenting their ideas and results to a general audience.   

Current case studies

More information about the "Case Studies in Discrete Optimization" and the "Case Studies in Nonlinear Optimization" can be found under Case Studies in the summer term 2021.

Case Studies: the idea

"Challenging mathematics with an applied profile" - this is how the Department of Mathematics at the TU München characterises its study courses. The truth of this claim is visible in the numerous projects which are offered in cooperation with partners from industry and business, as well as together with related TUM departments in the areas of engineering, economic and life sciences. 

case studies: team work

In case studies, students apply complex mathematical procedures to real-world problems, collaborate with practitioners from research and industry, and present their ideas and results publicly.

In order for our students to practically apply their math knowledge during their studies, we have created the seminars "Case Studies in Discrete Optimization" and "Case Studies in Non-Linear Optimization". Here the students can implement knowledge acquired in their lectures and seminars in real projects demanding a high level of personal responsibility, whilst also offering a large amount of freedom in the scope of the project tackled.

The first hurdle is to understand the practical challenge of the project and then to model and analyse the task in small teams. Subsequently, the students develop and implement suitable solutions for the problem. In order to offer realistic problems to be solved, the Department works together with external partners. 

The origins

The first event "Discrete Optimization: Case studies using real life examples" took place in the summer semester 2009, and was such a success, that the event was awarded the Felix Klein Teaching Prize of the Department of Mathematics. Since then, the regular events "Case Studies in Discrete Optimization" and "Case Studies in Non-Linear Optimization" have become central elements within the study course "Master Mathematics in Operations Research".

Case studies: the procedure

SCoNDO - the closing workshop

SCoNDO, the "Students' Conference on Nonlinear and Discrete Optimization" takes place once a year in summer. Here, the participants of the two courses "Case Studies Discrete Optimization" and "Case Studies Nonlinear Optimization" present their projects and present their results in a short public scientific talk.

In addition, they can discuss the specific challenges, the mathematical theory and the practical results in short question-and-answer sessions and during the coffee and lunch breaks. A joint "Conference Dinner" will conclude the event.

Date and program will be announced in June.


The conference is open to visitors. Everyone interested in mathematical optimization and its applications in real-world projects is cordially invited. So come and see for yourself and talk to our students. 

We would be happy if you visit SCoNDO, listen to the talks and exchange ideas with the students about their projects. Please register in advance if you would like to attend so that we can provide you with plenty of coffee, cookies and fruit. To do so, simply email pfefferer (at)

Our cooperation partners

Our past partners include BMW, car2go, Deutsche Bahn, Flixbus, Framos, Risklab, Siemens and many others.

Do you have an optimisation project, which is suitable for a student project with a duration of one semester? We would be happy to explain more about our cooperation possibilities!

Practice and career for mathematics students

The Department of Mathematics offers you further opportunities to gain practical experience during your studies.