In its thousands of years of history, mathematics has made an extraordinary ca- reer. It started from rules for bookkeeping and computation of areas to become the language of science. Its potential for decision support was fully recognized in the twentieth century only, vitally aided by the evolution of computing and communi- cation technology. Mathematical optimization, in particular, has developed into a powerful machinery to help planners. Whether costs are to be reduced, profits to be maximized, or scarce resources to be used wisely, optimization methods are available to guide decision making. Opti- mization is particularly strong if precise models of real phenomena and data of high quality are at hand - often yielding reliable automated control and decision proce- dures. But what, if the models are soft and not all data are around? Can mathematics help as well? This book addresses such issues, e. g. , problems of the following type: - An elevator cannot know all transportation requests in advance. In which order should it serve the passengers? - Wing profiles of aircrafts influence the fuel consumption.
Is it possible to con- tinuously adapt the shape of a wing during the flight under rapidly changing conditions? - Robots are designed to accomplish specific tasks as efficiently as possible. But what if a robot navigates in an unknown environment? - Energy demand changes quickly and is not easily predictable over time. Some types of power plants can only react slowly.
Publisher: Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co. KG