Often, in scientific computing, we are required to find the value of *x* for which a function *f(x)* will attain a maximum or minimum value. In other words, we want to maximize or minimize *f(x)*. This process is termed as **numerical optimization** and can be summarized as follows:

In the preceding formula, *x* represents a vector of variables also known as the unknowns or parameters, *f* is the function of *x* we want to maximize or minimize known as the objective function, *z _{i}* is the constraint functions that

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