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Some Background on Solver

Problems such as “What product mix will maximize profit?” or “What transportation routes will minimize shipping costs while meeting demand?” traditionally have been solved by numerical methods such as linear programming and nonlinear programming. An entire mathematical field known as operations research has been developed to handle such problems, which are found in all kinds of disciplines. The drawback to linear and nonlinear programming is that solving even the simplest problem by hand is a complicated, arcane, and time-consuming business. In other words, it's a perfect job to slough off on a computer.

This is where Solver comes in. Solver incorporates many of the algorithms from operations research, but it keeps the sordid details in the background. All you do is fill out a dialog box or two, and Solver does the rest.


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