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Mathematical optimization facts for kids

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Nelder-Mead Simionescu
Nelder-Mead minimum search of Simionescu's function. Simplex vertices are ordered by their value, with 1 having the lowest (best) value.

In many branches of science, including mathematics, mathematical optimization is a branch that is about finding the element that gives an optimal solution to a problem, given some criteria. In the simplest case, this means that a function needs to be minimized or maximized.

Many problems are more complex, though, and solving them analytically is not feasible: in these cases, numerical methods are often used.

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