# What is “mathematical-programming”?

There are currently several questions tagged , but this doesn't convey much meaning to me. Are there better tags we could use?

• I'm not even sure what the tag says in the first place. Any hints? (Or is it the obvious, "Mathematica is used to solve mathematical programs with a computer"? In that case, it should simply be called programming I guess.) – David Jan 18 '12 at 5:11
• When I first saw the tag, I thought of the disciplines of linear programming, dynamic programming, and integer programming, that are all about optimization. But I was mistaken, maybe we could split this tag into "mathematics" and "programming"? – tlehman Jan 18 '12 at 5:47
• @Tobi: Not sure that you were the one that was mistaken. I think the phrase is just unfamiliar to people, so they incorrectly used it. – Simon Jan 18 '12 at 8:29

A bit of googling shows that Wikipedia (accessed via google cache because of the SOPA protest) says that its an old term for programming optimization problems:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematical_optimization

An optimization problem can be represented in the following way << snip >>.
Such a formulation is called an optimization problem or a mathematical programming problem
(a term not directly related to computer programming, but still in use for example in linear programming - see History below).

A mathematical program is an optimization problem of the form:

Maximize \$f(x): x in X, g(x) <= 0, h(x) = 0\$

where \$X\$ is a subset of \$R^n\$ and is in the domain of the functions, \$f\$, \$g\$ and \$h\$, which map into real spaces. The relations, \$x\$ in \$X\$, \$g(x) <= 0\$ and \$h(x) = 0\$ are called constraints, and \$f\$ is called the objective function.

So, is just a certain type of constrained optimization problem. From this point of view, all questions so far tagged with it are tagged incorrectly.

We could make a synonym for , however, the tag might get confused with ...

• It's for this reason I was advocating not using the optimization tag. The concept of mathematical optimization should use mathematical-optimization, and anything involving program optimization should be tagged performance-tuning. I don't really understand why mathematical-programming was used. I think people used it for tagging things that were related to mathematical formulas in a programming context. – Mike Bailey Jan 18 '12 at 9:28
• @Mike: Exactly! And a lot more concise than my answer. – Simon Jan 18 '12 at 9:33