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OBJECTIVE FUNCTION. The combination of the variables of a mathematical programming problem whose value is to be maximized or minimized subject to the constraints of the problem. For a linear programming problem, the objective function is a linear combination of variables. 
OBJECTIVE FUNCTION ELEMENT. One of the coefficients in the objective function. 
OBJECTIVE VALUE. The value of the objective function at a particular solution. 
OBSERVED VALUE. The particular value of a characteristic determined as a result of an observation or test. 
OPERABLE. The state of being able to perform the intended function. 
OPERATIONAL. Of, or pertaining to, the state of actual usage. 
OPERATIONS RESEARCH. An organized and systematic analysis of complex situations, such as arise in the activities of risk-taking organizations of people and resources. The analysis makes use of certain specific disciplinary methods, such as probability, statistics, mathematical programming, and queuing theory. The purpose of operations research is to provide a more complete and explicit understanding of complex situations, thus leading to an optimum performance of individuals, utilizing the resources available.
OPPORTUNITY COST. The money or other value sacrificed by choosing one course of action thus ruling out others.
OPTIMIZE. To maximize or minimize an objective function. 
OPTIMUM SOLUTION. A set of values of the variables which optimizes the objective function, subject to the constraints of the problem. 
ORDER-STATISTICS. When a sample of variate values are arrayed in ascending order of magnitude these ordered values are known as order-statistics. Examples are the smallest value of a sample and the median. More generally, any statistic based on order statistics in this narrower sense is called an order-statistic, e.g., the range and the interquartile distance. 
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