Optimization

Multiobjective optimization or programming, also known as multi-criteria or multi-attribute optimization, is the process of simultaneously optimizing two or more conflicting objectives subject to certain constraints.

Multiobjective optimization problems can be found in various fields: product and process design, finance, aircraft design, the oil and gas industry, automobile design, or wherever optimal decisions need to be taken in the presence of trade-offs between two or more conflicting objectives. Maximizing profit and minimizing the cost of a product; maximizing performance and minimizing fuel consumption of a vehicle; and minimizing weight while maximizing the strength of a particular component are examples of multi-objective optimization problems.

If a multiobjective problem is well formed, there should not be a single solution that simultaneously minimizes each objective to its fullest. In each case we are looking for a solution for which each objective has been optimized to the extent that if we try to optimize it any further, then the other objectives will suffer as a result. Finding such a solution, and quantifying how much better this solution is compared to other such solutions (there will generally be many) is the goal when setting up and solving a multiobjective optimization problem.

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