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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1857, noun of action from optimize.


n. the design and operation of a system or process to make it as good as possible in some defined sense


n. the act of rendering optimal; "the simultaneous optimization of growth and profitability"; "in an optimization problem we seek values of the variables that lead to an optimal value of the function that is to be optimized"; "to promote the optimization and diversification of agricultural products" [syn: optimisation]

Optimization (disambiguation)

Optimization, optimisation, or optimality may refer to:

  • Mathematical optimization, the theory and computation of extrema or stationary points of functions
  • Engineering optimization, the use of optimization techniques to aid the engineering design process

Economics and business

  • Optimality, in economics

:* Profit

:* Utility

:* Economic efficiency

:* Pareto optimality, or Pareto efficiency, a concept used in economics, game theory, engineering, and the social sciences

  • Process optimization, in business and engineering, methodologies for improving the efficiency of a production process
  • Product optimization, in business and marketing, methodologies for improving the quality and desirability of a product or product concept

Information technology

  • Program optimization, improving software to make it work more efficiently or use fewer resources
  • Compiler optimization, improving the performance or efficiency of compiled code
  • Asymptotically optimal algorithm, an algorithm that is at most a constant factor worse than the best possible algorithm for large input sizes
  • Search engine optimization, in internet marketing, methodologies aimed at improving the ranking of a website in search engine listings
  • Image search optimization, in internet marketing, methodologies aimed at improving the ranking of an image in image search engine listings


  • Optimality theory, in linguistics, a model proposing that observed forms of language arise from the interaction of conflicting constraints
  • Optimization (role-playing games), a gaming play style

Optimum may refer to:

  • Optimum Releasing, a film and DVD distribution company based in the UK
  • Optimum TV, the brand name of a suite of digital media services offered by Cablevision Systems Corporation
  • Optimum PR, a division of Cossette, Inc., a public-relations organization
Optimization (role-playing games)

Optimization, in computer and table-top role-playing games, is a term intended to describe a play style or set of play styles alternately referred to by the terms munchkin gaming, powergaming, min-maxing, "roll-playing", or twinking, but without the pejorative connotation of those terms. The core idea of optimization as a play style is that of deriving enjoyment from choosing and benefiting from the game mechanical options that best optimize one's character's performance for some specific purpose—most commonly, speed of power or wealth accumulation. Players who primarily enjoy this play style are called optimizers. This reflects, at least in large part, an effort by game developers and operators to recognize and validate this style of play, and to be able to discuss it and the players who enjoy it without resorting to the traditional, pejorative terms.

In the Bartle taxonomy of gamer styles, Achievers ("Diamonds") are most typically enthusiastic optimizers, while the play style of Socializers ("Hearts") is the most distant from (and generally antipathic to) optimization. Explorers ("Spades") generally enjoy discovering the best methods of optimization, but may be more interested in continued experimentation than in consistently applying those methods. Killers ("Clubs") have a complex relationship with optimization. To whatever extent the game style rewards optimization with power, Killers will appear to be optimizers as they work to maintain their competitiveness. Insofar as Killers optimize in player versus environment (PvE) play, though, the driving force is typically not a positive enjoyment of optimization, but a desire to "get through the boring parts" as rapidly as possible, reducing time spent grinding, and reach what is, to them, the "real" game, player versus player (PvP) conflict. PvP play, depending on the game style, may have a strong optimization element, providing an "ultimate" test of one player's optimization skills against another's, but this is de-emphasized in games where PvP success depends more on non-game-mechanical factors such as the player's reaction time and tactical adaptability. Killers who are also optimizers, then, tend to find more enjoyment in games where characters' statistics more strongly predict who will win in combat. Non-optimizer Killers, on the other hand, tend to prefer games where conflict outcomes are determined more by the player than the character, and may actively dislike games that reward optimization.

Usage examples of "optimization".

Loop involvement, which was the preparatory-stage management strategy, was a grand forward-looking idea, but after four decades of accumulated optimization the Third Fleet software had become classic bloatware, total deadweight.

Pure topological theory might prove the existence of a decomposition series, but actually forcing a ship through that series required massive linear programming optimizations, all performed in realtime with no second chances for mistakes.

Ordinarily, genetic algorithms—which modeled reproduction to arrive at solutions—ordinarily, they ran between 500 and 5,000 generations to arrive at an optimization.

And for the nonsimple cases—like Namqem—where generations of clever optimization finally crushed itself, even those disasters depended on the closed-system nature of sessile civilizations.

That concept turned the problem of locating Acorna's home world from a straightforward task of astrophysical analysis to a complex optimization program requiring sophisticated operations research techniques.

The ship's metachip-augmented parallel processors solved and optimized the set of equations represented in a thousand-square matrix of subspace points, dropped out of that subspace into Decomposition, rode the collapsing funnel of spaces with a new optimization problem to choose and resolve every tenth of a second.

Genius and freedom and knowledge of the past have kept them safe, but finally the optimizations have taken them to the point of fragility.

Windows 2000 took more than 20 seconds longer to boot, because it's much larger than Windows Me, and because XP uses new optimizations for reading and loading OS code into memory.

And there are many tweaks and optimizations that I could probably make in my system that I have never gotten around to attempting, partly because I get tired of being a Morlock some days, and partly because I am afraid of fouling up a system that generally works well.

Among these are beings whom nobody from a previous century would recognize as human – human/corporation half-breeds, zombie clades dehumanized by their own optimizations, angels and devils of software, slyly self-aware financial instruments.