Finding an alternative with the most cost effective or highest achievable performance under the given constraints, by maximizing desired factors and minimizing undesired ones. In comparison, maximization means trying to attain the highest or maximum result or outcome without regard to cost or expense. Practice of optimization is restricted by the lack of full information, and the lack of time to evaluate what information is available (see bounded reality for details). In computer simulation (modeling) of business problems, optimization is achieved usually by using linear programming techniques of operations research. See also satisficing.

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