Exercise № 5

An exercise in trust!

Invest trust, gain security!

Mathematical optimization is a very powerful tool. At the same time, it is a blackbox. On the one hand, you have to enter the relevant data, on the other, it provides the best results possible. What goes on inside the blackbox cannot be seen from the outside. This requires trust –  trust in mathematics, in algorithms and in technology.

Most people are distrustful of many things at first. That’s only human. However, once we become aware of the fact that we deal with mathematical optimization and are surrounded by it on a daily basis, things look rather different all of a sudden: Mathematical optimization solves a lot of our routine tasks and works in the background like an invisible tool. In most cases we already trust it blindly and rely on the practical appliance which it regulates. You’re still not convinced?

In this exercise, we invite you to see for yourself. We’ll show you where mathematical optimization can be found in everyday life today. We’ll also show you what we do so that you can put your trust in our systems, no matter what.

Unit 1

The world in numbers. Find out where mathematical optimization is concealed in everyday appliances by taking our reality check.

Go to unit

Unit 2

It’s better to be safe than sorry! We need your data for mathematical optimization. We demonstrate how securely we manage your data in this unit.

Go to unit

Unit 1

Unit 1:
An exercise in trust

The world in numbers

Training goal

Trust in mathematics.

Many people consider higher mathematics to be rather abstract, somethng that has little to do with real life. Hands up if you asked yourself at school why anybody would possibly need all those seemingly complicated sums in real ife. The fact of the matter is that mathematical optimization has long been part and parcel of our everyday lives. It just remains hidden most of the time and works behind the scenes – we already trust it, even if we don’t actually realize it.

In this unit you will discover where and when you encounter mathematical optimization. This is far more often than you would presume and frequently in areas where you would never have expected it.

Constructing underground caverns to store oil and gas reserves is a complex and time-consuming process. Planning and managing cavern construction is a challenging task as it is subject to a number of input parameters, cross-dependencies and restrictions.  With OPTANO, production plans were designed by taking technical restrictions, official regulations and multi-project planning into consideration. The most significant results of the project were:

  • cost reductions by means of efficient resource planning
  • adherence to all technical and statutory regulations involving cavern design
  • implemention of a technical and fiscal management tool for strategic production planning
  • compliance with certification requirements (quality and energy management)

A manufacturer of  wooden molded parts and profiles invested in a computer-controlled saw to manufacture smaller components. In its attempts to produce as low an amount of wood chippings  as  possible,  it reached maximum capacity with the software available in no time. The manufacturer had to do the rest manually which took up a great deal of time.

The OPTANO solution takes the data from the stocks, product design, client order data, company restrictions for the saw and even the availability of fork-lift trucks used to transport items within the production halls. By collecting and combining all these factors, there was a major increase in output.

All Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) holders must undergo training on flight simulators twice a year if they fly a certain type of plane (e.g. A320 or B777). 150 airlines and thosands of crew members sign up for these training schedules.

The coordination center for flight simulators has to ensure that the few flight simulators are used at full cand optimal capacity. Together with OPTANO it succeeded in scheduling training slots so that there were very short waiting times and high client satisfaction.

Reality Check

Do our reality check! Which of the following aplications do you believe are based on mathematical optimization?


»Mathematical optimization is already a part of your life. Even if you can’t see it, it still works.«

Unit 2

Unit 2:

It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Security steps

Steps that cannot be avoided:

The data center is in Germany and all of the data and systems are located within the EU.

This choice of location guarantees that the very stringent EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is fully complied with. Among others, data center employees have absolutely no access to the data. A compulsory access check to the servers also ensures that only those persons authorized to do so can access the sytem.

Our computing center works in accordance with ISO 27001. OPTANO has made a voluntary commitment to the stipulation of this regulation to collect all relevant data on information security and document the process. By doing this, our IT security is therefore constantly up-to-date.

External communication is encoded in compliance with current security standards (VPN; HTTPS). The security standards we use ensure that communication is more secure because the data can neither be read nor changed while it is being transferred..

In order to gain access to our servers you have to produce ID at least twice. We use multi-factor authentication to access the infraastructure. You enter your password and then confirm access via a cellphone of your choice.

An application server ensures that only authorized persons can access data within the OPTANO application. By assigning roles and permissions, we guarantee that nobody can access data who is not authorized to do so.

Security Check

Good to know

Mathematical optimization can solve almost any problem – if you provide it with enough information/data. However, releasing this data is understandably a difficult step for many businesses to take.

We want to explain what we do so that even your most sensitive data is protected. Take a look at our safety steps opposite and you’ll quickly see that your data is absolutely safe with us.


What can an application server do for your security?

In basic client-server architecture the client can access the database server directly. The installation of an application server regulates which data can be accessed at all. The result is the decoupling of the  client and database server.

This is where the application server comes in. It functions as an “intermediary” between the client (user) and the database on the server and regulates access. By assigning stipulated roles and permissions in advance, the application server decides whether a user is authorized to read or change certain data. Each employee can now access the data which he is actually authorized to use. This procedure means that the application server is a guarantee for a secure system.


»When you provide data for optimization applications, you need to be sure that it is stored, managed and processed in a secure manner. Just as it is with OPTANO.«

Homework № 5

Be on the safe side!

Homework № 5: A secure password

Nowadays we need a password for virtually everything we do. But what makes a password secure? Normally, 6 characters are required. If we differentiate between small and large-case letters we have 2 x 26, i.e. 52 to the power of 6 character combinations, therefore 19,770,609,664 password options. Sounds pretty secure, doesn’t it?

We have to disappoint you, however! Depending on their processing power, computers with special software can run through more than 2 billion passwords per second. In order to work out all 6-character passwords, you need just 9 seconds.

The longer a password is, the more secure it is. The homework in this exercise is as follows: Work out how many combinations there are for a password that consists of 8 characters from a total of 52. Send us the correct answer including your first and surname, address and telephone number by using the contact link below.



Send your answer


1st Prize:

A photo shoot styled on our campaign.

If your name is drawn, you will have the opportunity to choose a theme of your choice for your personal photoshoot. It can be your hobby, a business issue, whatever you want. The only condition is that it is complex enough and fits on a 1x1m table. The photoshoot will take place in Bielefeld, Germany. Travel expenses within Germany as well as an overnight stay in a hotel are included in the prize.

2nd – 5th Prizes:

A hardback edition of  »Things Come Apart.« by McLellan

6th – 10th Prizes:

Game »Die Kunst Aufzuräumen«

Legal Notice:

Dissembled objects will not be reassembled. Further technical agreements concerning the photoshoot will be clarified with you in advance. The photo shoot will take place in Bielefeld. The winner and OPTANO will be assigned the rights to the finished product once the negatives have been handed over.

Legal Announcement

Terms and conditions of participation

This competition isn’t just for glory and prestige! Our first prize is a photoshoot in the style of our campaign. Conditions: You correctly answer all 10 of our fairly mind-boggling questions in our Exercise! Campaign. You can follow our campaign in our newsletter which you will receive as soon as a new exercise is online.

The competition closes in fall 2020.

Terms and conditions of participation


Send us your correct answer!

Send us the correct answer including your first and surname, address and telephone number using the contact form below.

We only use the E-mail address you provide us in order to reply to you. We undertake not to forward your details to third parties except in the case of judicial orders. Details such as first and/or surnames as well as titles are provided on a voluntary basis and are only used by us to address you personally. More information on this can be found in our Privacy Policy.