Monday, June 21, 2010

Life Maximization

Optimization is the name of one of the ten modules that I am taking here in Cambridge to get my master degree. Keeping the examination part aside, it was a very interesting subject to read. In short, it is a subject that deals with maximizing or minimizing certain objective function subject to certain constraints. An example for its application in engineering is a manufacturing plant trying to maximize its production subject to the limit in labours, raw materials, machineries etc. The theories are also widely adopted in minimizing the distribution cost of giant retailer like WalMart. All in all, it is a subject that tries to help people to make rational decision(s) with all the information available and of course, some assumptions.

For amusement purposes, I am now trying to put the theory of optimization into pondering about how I should maximize my life time. For me, life maximization consideration is like trying to formulate the objective function that I am trying to optimize with the constraints my life time, energy, ability etc. Mathematically, it can be formulated as below:

Assume that this is a linear programming problem,
Objective function, f(x) = ∑ a(i)x(i)

where ,
coefficients a(i) = {a(1), a(2), a(3)....... a(n)}
variables x(i) = {x(1),x(2), x(3).......x(n)}

f(x) is the overall objective that we would like to maximize and it is supposed to be able to measure the value of my life time. The difficult part is what are the variables that should be included in the objective function and how to determine their respective coefficients? Each x is a concern of life, for example, money, fame, family, environment, society, passion etc, whereas the values of the coefficients are associated with the weight of their respective variables.

What variables and coefficients would you place in your objective function of life? Of course, unlike many engineering solutions, there is no right and wrong answer in this mathematics question......... Also unlike many engineering solutions, there is no turning back, everyone only has one life to maximize.......