# Mathematical optimization

## Study of mathematical algorithms for optimization problems / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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**Mathematical optimization** (alternatively spelled *optimisation*) or **mathematical programming** is the selection of a best element, with regard to some criterion, from some set of available alternatives.[1] It is generally divided into two subfields: discrete optimization and continuous optimization. Optimization problems arise in all quantitative disciplines from computer science and engineering[2] to operations research and economics, and the development of solution methods has been of interest in mathematics for centuries.[3]

In the more general approach, an optimization problem consists of maximizing or minimizing a real function by systematically choosing input values from within an allowed set and computing the value of the function. The generalization of optimization theory and techniques to other formulations constitutes a large area of applied mathematics. More generally, optimization includes finding "best available" values of some objective function given a defined domain (or input), including a variety of different types of objective functions and different types of domains.