Optimal solution – definition and meaning

The term optimal solution refers to the best solution for a company to solve a problem or achieve its aims. The term is common in business. However, we can also use it in economics, military options, mathematics, logistics, environmental science, health, and in other situations. It is an alternative approach that provides the best outcome for a situation.

An optimal solution uses resources most efficiently and effectively. It also yields the greatest possible return, considering the circumstances.

Any attempt to make even slight changes to the solution just makes it worse.

In most cases, we can only reach this type of solution by trial and error. In other words, we rarely reach it by statistical analysis or using formulae.

The term refers to a solution that is either the least costly or most profitable solution.

According to The Law Dictionary, the optimal solution is:

“The solution that best utilizes available resources to achieve the company’s aims. No amount of tinkering will improve such a solution.”

“Such solutions are difficult to ascertain statistically and are normally generated through trial and error.”

Optimal solution
An optimal solution is the best possible one for a situation.

Globally vs. locally optimal solution

When no other feasible solutions are offering better results, we have a globally optimal solution. In other words, nothing better exists anywhere.

When there are no better solutions ‘in the vicinity,’ we have a locally optimal solution. In other words, there might be better ones far away, but there are none nearby.

The Online Etymology Dictionary says that the word ‘optimal‘ appeared in the English language in 1890. It originated from Latin ‘Optimus’, which means ‘the best.’ Etymology is the study of the origin of words and how their meanings evolved.

Scientists commonly use the term. Read this quote by Prof. Sriram Subramanian, who works at the University of Sussex in England:

“In our device we manipulate objects in mid-air and seemingly defy gravity. Here we individually control dozens of loudspeakers to tell us an optimal solution to generate an acoustic hologram that can manipulate multiple objects in real-time without contact.”

Prof. Subramanian was talking about the creation of a tractor beam using sound waves.

Non-optimal solution

The term ‘non-optimal solution‘ is sarcastic. We use it when we think a solution is the worst one possible. In fact, we think it is an incredibly stupid way to solve a problem.

Webster-Dictionary.org makes the following comment regarding the meaning of the term when we use it sarcastically:

“This term is generally used in deadpan sarcasm, as its impact is greatest when the person speaking looks completely serious.”

Compound words/phrases with Optimal

Here are some compound words and phrases with the word ‘Optimal.’

  • Optimal Performance

    Achieving the best possible level of efficiency or success in functioning.

  • Optimal Health

    The state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease.

  • Optimal Conditions

    The most favorable circumstances for a particular process or activity to occur.

  • Optimal Temperature

    The ideal temperature range for a specific process or organism to thrive.

  • Optimal Growth

    The most favorable rate of growth for an organism or economic investment.

  • Optimal Strategy

    The best approach or method to achieve a specific goal or outcome.

  • Optimal Level

    The most desirable intensity or degree of a certain factor or variable.

  • Optimal Concentration

    The ideal amount of a substance required to achieve a specific reaction or effect.

  • Optimal Nutrition

    The intake of the right balance of nutrients to support overall health and bodily functions.

  • Optimal Allocation

    The most effective distribution of resources or assets.

  • Optimal Solution

    The best possible answer or resolution to a problem.

  • Optimal Output

    The highest amount of production a system can generate under the best conditions.

  • Optimal Functioning

    Operating at the best possible level of activity or effectiveness.

  • Optimal Design

    The most efficient and functional layout or structure.

  • Optimal Utilization

    The most effective use of a resource or capability.

  • Optimal Range

    The ideal scope or area for effectiveness.

  • Optimal Density

    The best concentration of individuals or objects within a given area.

  • Optimal Investment

    The most favorable placement of capital for growth or income.

  • Optimal Mix

    The best combination or blend of different elements or factors.

  • Optimal Pricing

    Setting the best price for a product or service, balancing profitability with customer demand.

Different languages

Here is a translation of the term Optimal Solution in some languages:

  • Solución óptima (Spanish)
  • 最优解 (Chinese – Mandarin)
  • आदर्श समाधान (Hindi)
  • Optimal Solution (English)
  • الحل الأمثل (Arabic)
  • Оптимальное решение (Russian)
  • En iyi çözüm (Turkish)
  • 최적 해결책 (Korean)
  • Giải pháp tối ưu (Vietnamese)
  • Solution optimale (French)
  • Soluzione ottimale (Italian)
  • Optimale Lösung (German)
  • 最適な解決策 (Japanese)
  • Solusi optimal (Malay/Indonesian)
  • Optimal lösning (Swedish)
  • Optymalne rozwiązanie (Polish)
  • Optimale oplossing (Dutch)
  • Ótima solução (Portuguese)
  • সেরা সমাধান (Bengali)
  • ఆదర్శ పరిష్కారం (Telugu)
  • சிறந்த தீர்வு (Tamil)
  • શ્રેષ્ઠ ઉકેલ (Gujarati)
  • परम समाधान (Marathi)
  • ਸਭ ਤੋਂ ਵਧੀਆ ਹੱਲ (Punjabi)

Video – What is the Optimal Solution?

This video comes from our sister channel – Marketing Business Network.