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This is the first of a series of expository papers, to appear periodically, dealing with selected statistical techniques which can be conveniently applied with the use of a digital computer to a substantial range of practical problems. The present paper discusses a technique, developed by G. E. P. Box and K. B. Wilson, which permits solution of the problem of finding an optimum (or minimum) value without first finding the underlying mathematical model. Applications of the method and the accompanying programming problem are also considered.
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