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SUMMARY

This chapter has introduced the network model to accompany allocation, covering, and blending models as one of the four basic linear programming types. The network model is uniquely adapted to the use of network flow diagrams, which can help substantially in constructing and debugging a spreadsheet model.

Among network models, a set of important cases are called special networks. Special network models arise frequently in distribution problems faced by industry. These models also have a structure that leads naturally to a distinctive array-based format for spreadsheet use. The use of arrays reflects the natural From/To structure in the problem itself, which lends itself readily to the row-and-column layout of a spreadsheet. (The array format adds an important case to the standard linear programming format covered in Chapter 2.) Special networks are usually formulated with inequality constraints; although from a more general perspective, these constraints are intuitive simplifications of a set of balance equations.