In this time of New Year resolutions I will post re **solutions**. ;)*

In** mathematics** the** solution** is the answer.

- x=42.
- Theta is 57 degrees.
- The price has increased by 15%.

In **statistics** a **solution** provides something we can be reasonably sure of.

- We are 95% confident that the price of a house increases by between $5,000 and $7,000 for each extra bathroom, all other things being equal.
- The margin of error is 3 percent.
- There is evidence that more men prefer milk chocolate than dark chocolate.

What is called a **solution** in **operations research** could be called an alternative, which is not necessarily optimal, practical or even feasible. There can be infinite **solutions**. Finding a** solution** is a step towards solving the problem. We do great things in The Science of Better, but a **solution** is only a start.

- We should order flour every 2.3 days.
- There should be five servers operating.
- A possible location for the hospital is in a new satellite town.

In all disciplines teachers need to make the language of the discipline clear.

Students need to watch for the specialised use of language in a discipline. Assuming you know what a term means, because it is a familiar term, can cause confusion.

* The OR blog challenge for January was OR Resolutions. This is the best I could think of. It’s our summer holidays here.

## 2 Comments

[…] There are problems with the term “problem” and even greater problems with the word “solution.” In Operations Research a solution is nothing like an everyday solution. It doesn’t even have to […]

[…] in red ticks as he knew how much I liked them. In mathematics there was one correct answer. (See my post on Re:Solutions). You had to find x, and when you found it you knew you had the right one. This is SO not true in […]