Multiobjective optimization (also known as multiobjective programming, vector optimization, multicriteria optimization, multiattribute optimization or Pareto optimization) is an area of multiple criteria decision making, that is concerned with mathematical optimization problems involving more than one objective function to be optimized simultaneously. Multiobjective optimization has been applied in many fields of science, including engineering, economics and logistics (see the section on applications for examples) where optimal decisions need to be taken in the presence of trade-offs between two or more conflicting objectives. Minimizing weight while maximizing the strength of a particular component, and maximizing performance whilst minimizing fuel consumption and emission of pollutants of a vehicle are examples of multiobjective optimization problems involving two and three objectives, respectively. In practical problems, there can be more than three objectives.
For a nontrivial multiobjective optimization problem, there does not exist a single solution that simultaneously optimizes each objective. In that case, the objective functions are said to be conflicting, and there exists a (possibly infinite number of) Pareto optimal solutions. A solution is called nondominated, Pareto optimal, Pareto efficient or noninferior, if none of the objective functions can be improved in value without impairment in some of the other objective values. Without additional preference information, all Pareto optimal solutions can be considered mathematically equally good (as vectors cannot be ordered completely). Researchers study multiobjective optimization problems from different viewpoints and, thus, there exist different solution philosophies and goals when setting and solving them. The goal may be finding a representative set of Pareto optimal solutions, and/or quantifying the trade-offs in satisfying the different objectives, and/or finding a single solution that satisfies the preferences of a human decision maker (DM).
Read more about Multi-objective Optimization: Introduction, Solving A Multiobjective Optimization Problem, Scalarizing Multiobjective Optimization Problems, No-preference Methods, A Priori Methods, A Posteriori Methods, Interactive Methods, Hybrid Methods, Visualization of The Pareto Frontier, Multiobjective Optimization Software
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