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We consider the problem of evaluating several proposals and selecting one or more which in some sense “best” meet certain objectives. For example, the executive may wish to select from among a set of available projects a combination which will meet certain objectives relative to sales, sales staff, profitability, and capital investment over some particular period of time. Generally, multiple objectives are in conflict. For example, sales can probably be increased by increasing sales staff, but this affects profitability and capital investment. Thus, the problem is one of “trade-offs” which is not difficult if there are only a few choices. However, if there are many choices available and numerous objectives, simple “enumerative” approaches to the problem cease to be of utility, since the number of possible combinations becomes astronomical in size.
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