The final run in to the module end

Well, I spent the last available week finishing off the End Of Module Assignment (EMA). I managed to write something about “stakeholders” and referred to the lack of literature. I also did a wrap up of problems.

Finally, an Epilogue covered all that I did after writing the bulk of the report and highlighted the issues that are still outstanding. The  body of the text was 11,784 words with the total coming in at 24,525 (who would have thought it possible?) once I finished it off, by including my JavaScript code and all of the content of this blog from the point where it became my project diary.

I submitted the EMA a couple of days ahead of schedule and then signed it off in my head as well. So that is it. I now have to wait until late November for the result. Quite simply if I get a grade 2, then I will finish my degree with a 2.1 whilst if I get a grade 3 it will be a 2.2. I would like a 2.1 but I can live with either.

I am NOT expecting to fail but one never knows. What happens if I fail? Well, my wife is against me continuing as she thinks that the studying has made my life difficult over the last 18 months or so and she wants me to stop, no matter what. I agree with here as I didn’t really expect it to be as hard as it was, given my knowledge of computing. However, that just shows how good the OU is in getting you up to modern standards. I now know an awful lot more than I did about the “really” modern world, even though I have been working within it quite successfully.

So, if I did fail, what then. Well I currently have a B.Sc. but I wasn’t able to take it as that would have stopped me working for “Honours”. I don’t understand that but that is how it works. So, a failure in TM470 would see me taking the B.Sc. and writing off the last couple of courses.

It will not happen!

I thought that I would finish off this blog by describing the final state of the project:


Now that the final project report is written and settled, I think that it is time to think about the future.

Following the discussion regarding the outstanding issues, time was taken after completion of the bulk of this report to think again about further work on the Decision Engine(DE). As part of this, the automated process of running three daily schedules was completed to find out what happened over a period of time. It was expected that the routing would over allocate cars to tracks with limited space. This was, in fact, the case. However, a bigger problem became apparent which had nothing to do with the efficiency, or otherwise, of the software itself. This was that, over time, more trains were running with zero freight cars. On analysis, this turned out to be because of the seed listing of available cars. As cars placed on site had to stay for minimum periods of time, eventually, too many cars were locked up on site leaving not enough in the staging areas to keep the traffic flowing.

Further investigation showed that this was because of the limited number of cars available. The list of freight cars for my own railroad was worked out against expected traffic flows, before there was a system that I could run. The number of cars listed – 23 excluding cabooses – seemed to be the right number.  However, now, it would seem that more cars on the roster would help keep the flow of traffic across multiple daily schedules. Initial investigations suggest that a 50% increase in cars would create a better flow. On a personal basis, as each freight car costs around £20.00, an investment of £240.00 would be needed. This may have to take place over a period of time. In the meantime, further coding will be needed on the DE to alleviate the over-allocation.

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