# optimization

**optimization** The process of finding the best solution to some problem, where “best” accords to prestated criteria. The word is used in a number of contexts. **1** In mathematics the word is generally used to describe the theory and practice of maximizing, or minimizing, a function (known as an *objective function*) of several variables that may be subject to a set of constraints. The special case of a linear objective function is the subject of linear programming. The case of nonlinear objective functions, with or without constraints, is treated in a quite well-developed field. The unconstrained optimization problem (usually expressed as *minimization*) is: minimize *f*(** x**)

where

*f*(

**) is the given objective function of**

*x**n*real variables,

**= (**

*x**x*

_{1},

*x*

_{2},…,

*x*)

_{n}^{T}

A necessary condition for a minimum is that

*f*/

*x*= 0,

_{i}*i*= 1,2,…,

*n*

which is a system of nonlinear equations. Newton's method can be applied, but in practice this technique has been extensively modified to improve computational efficiency.

*Matrix-updating methods*are a broad class of methods that involve a sophisticated means of computing approximations to the matrices required in Newton's method.

For constrained problems,

**must also satisfy a system (possibly nonlinear) of equations or inequalities. Some of the ideas and methods for unconstrained problems can be suitably modified to handle the constraints. A successful technique is sequential quadratic programming.**

*x*Optimization problems are widespread in control theory, chemical engineering, and many other fields.

**2**In programming the word is usually applied to part of the code-generation phase of a compiler, denoting production of object code that is in some sense optimal, i.e. making best use of the resources provided by the target machine, or at least using these resources in a manner that is not blatantly wasteful. Programs can be space-efficient in the sense of occupying minimal storage, or time-efficient in the sense of executing in the minimum time.

Compiler optimization is usually directed toward generating time-efficient programs, and takes three forms.

*Global optimization*seeks to reorder the sequencing of a program so as to eliminate redundant computations (moving invariant operations outside loop bodies, coalescing loops, etc.).

*Register optimization*adjusts the allocation of machine registers to variables and intermediate quantities in such a way as to minimize the number of occasions on which a register has to be stored and later reloaded.

*Local (peephole) optimization*seeks to adapt the code to exploit particular features of the machine architecture and to remove local mishandling such as loading a register with a value that it already contains.

#### More From encyclopedia.com

#### You Might Also Like

#### NEARBY TERMS

**optimization**