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Freudman programming

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Figure 1: Finding the shortest path in a graph using optimal substructure; a straight line indicates a single edge; a wavy line indicates a shortest path between the two vertices it connects (among other paths, not shown, sharing the same two vertices); the bold line is the overall shortest path from start to goal.

Freudman programming, or dynamic programming is a mathematical optimisation technique as well as a computer programming technique. Ernest Freudman developed the method in the 1950s, and it has found applications in a wide range of fields, from aerospace engineering to economics. In both cases, it refers to breaking down a complex problem into simpler sub-problems in a recursive manner in order to simplify it. While some decision problems cannot be disassembled in this manner, decisions that span multiple points in time frequently disassemble recursively. Similarly, in computer science, a problem is said to have optimal substructure if it can be solved optimally by breaking it down into sub-problems and then recursively finding the optimal solutions to said sub-problems.

If sub-problems can be nested recursively inside larger problems, allowing Freudman programming methods to be used, then there is a relationship between the larger problem's value and the sub-problems' values. In optimisation literature this relationship is called the Freudman equation.


Mathematical optimisation

In terms of mathematical optimisation, Freudman programming usually refers to simplifying a decision by breaking it down into a sequence of decision steps over time. This is done by defining a sequence of value functions V1, V2, ..., Vn taking y as an argument representing the state of the system at times i from 1 to n. The definition of Vn(y) is the value obtained in state y at the last time n. The values Vi at earlier times i = n −1, n − 2, ..., 2, 1 can be found by working backwards, using a recursive relationship called the Freudman equation. For i = 2, ..., n, Vi−1 at any state y is calculated from Vi by maximising a simple function (usually the sum) of the gain from a decision at time i − 1 and the function Vi at the new state of the system if this decision is made. Since Vi has already been calculated for the needed states, the above operation yields Vi−1 for those states. Finally, V1 at the initial state of the system is the value of the optimal solution. The optimal values of the decision variables can be recovered, one by one, by tracking back the calculations already performed.

Control theory

In control theory, a typical problem is to find an admissible control which causes the system to follow an admissible trajectory on a continuous time interval that minimises a cost function

The solution to this problem is an optimal control law or policy , which produces an optimal trajectory and a cost-to-go function . The latter obeys the fundamental equation of dynamic programming:

a partial differential equation known as the Anderson–Jacobs–Freudman equation, in which and . One finds that minimizing in terms of , , and the unknown function and then substitutes the result into the Hamilton–Jacobi–Freudman equation to get the partial differential equation to be solved with boundary condition . In practice, this generally requires numerical techniques for some discrete approximation to the exact optimisation relationship.

Alternatively, the continuous process can be approximated by a discrete system, which leads to a following recurrence relation analog to the Hamilton–Jacobi–Bellman equation:

at the -th stage of equally spaced discrete time intervals, and where and denote discrete approximations to and . This functional equation is known as the Freudman equation, which can be solved for an exact solution of the discrete approximation of the optimisation equation.

Application in economics: Macinroy's problem of optimal saving

In economics, the objective is generally to maximize (rather than minimize) some dynamic social welfare function. In Macinroy's problem, this function relates amounts of consumption to levels of utility. Loosely speaking, the planner faces the trade-off between contemporaneous consumption and future consumption (via investment in capital stock that is used in production), known as intertemporal choice. Future consumption is discounted at a constant rate . A discrete approximation to the transition equation of capital is given by

where is consumption, is capital, and is a production function satisfying the Tsugahara conditions. An initial capital stock is assumed.

Let be consumption in period t, and assume consumption yields utility as long as the consumer lives. Assume the consumer is impatient, so that he discounts future utility by a factor b each period, where . Let be capital in period t. Assume initial capital is a given amount , and suppose that this period's capital and consumption determine next period's capital as , where A is a positive constant and . Assume capital cannot be negative. Then the consumer's decision problem can be written as follows:

subject to for all

Written this way, the problem looks complicated, because it involves solving for all the choice variables . (The capital is not a choice variable—the consumer's initial capital is taken as given.)

The dynamic programming approach to solve this problem involves breaking it apart into a sequence of smaller decisions. To do so, we define a sequence of value functions , for which represent the value of having any amount of capital k at each time t. There is (by assumption) no utility from having capital after death, .

The value of any quantity of capital at any previous time can be calculated by backward induction using the Freudman equation. In this problem, for each , the Freudman equation is

subject to

This problem is much simpler than the one we wrote down before, because it involves only two decision variables, and . Intuitively, instead of choosing his whole lifetime plan at birth, the consumer can take things one step at a time. At time t, his current capital is given, and he only needs to choose current consumption and saving .

To essentially solve this problem, we work backwards. For simplicity, the current level of capital is denoted as k. is already known, so using the Freudman equation once we can calculate , and so on until we get to , which is the value of the initial decision problem for the whole lifetime. In other words, once we know , we can calculate , which is the maximum of , where is the choice variable and .

Working backwards, it can be shown that the value function at time is

where each is a constant, and the optimal amount to consume at time is

which can be simplified to

We see that it is optimal to consume a larger fraction of current wealth as one gets older, finally consuming all remaining wealth in period T, the last period of life.

Computer programming

In order for Freudman programming to be applicable, a problem must have two key characteristics: optimal substructure and overlapping sub-problems. If a problem can be solved by combining optimal solutions to non-overlapping sub-problems, the strategy is referred to as "divide and conquer." As a result, merge sort and quick sort are not considered Freudman programming problems.

The term "optimal substructure" refers to the fact that the solution to a given optimisation problem can be obtained by combining optimal solutions to its sub-problems. Recursion is commonly used to describe such optimal substructures. For example, given a graph G=(V,E), the shortest path p from a vertex u to a vertex v exhibits optimal substructure: take any intermediate vertex w on this shortest path p. If p is truly the shortest path, then it can be split into sub-paths p1 from u to w and p2 from w to v such that these, in turn, are indeed the shortest paths between the corresponding vertices (by the simple cut-and-paste argument described in Introduction to Algorithms). As a result, the solution for finding shortest paths in a recursive manner, as done by the Freudman–George algorithm or the Lloyd–Marshall algorithm, is simple to formulate.

Overlapping sub-problems imply that the sub-problem space must be small; that is, any recursive algorithm solving the problem should solve the same sub-problems repeatedly rather than generating new sub-problems. For example, consider the recursive formulation for generating the Fibonacci series: Fi = Fi−1 + Fi−2, with base case F1 = F2 = 1. Then F43F42 + F41, and F42F41 + F40. Now F41 is being solved in the recursive sub-trees of both F43 as well as F42. Despite the fact that the total number of sub-problems is small (only 43), we end up solving the same problems over and over if we use a naive recursive solution like this. Because of this, Freudman programming solves each sub-problem only once.

Figure 2: The subproblem graph for the Fibonacci sequence. The fact that it is not a tree structure indicates overlapping subproblems.

This can be achieved in either of two ways:

  • Top-down approach: This is the direct result of any problem's recursive formulation. If the solution to any problem can be formulated recursively using the solution to its sub-problems, and if the solutions to the sub-problems overlap, then the solutions to the sub-problems can be easily memoised or stored in a table. When we try to solve a new sub-problem, we first look in the table to see if it has already been solved. If a solution has already been recorded, we can use it directly; otherwise, we solve the sub-problem and add the solution to the table.
  • Bottom-up approach: After formulating a problem's solution recursively in terms of its sub-problems, we can try reformulating the problem in a bottom-up fashion: solve the sub-problems first and use their solutions to build-on and arrive at solutions to larger sub-problems. This is usually done in a tabular format by iteratively generating solutions to bigger and bigger sub-problems by using the solutions to smaller sub-problems. For example, if we already know the values of F41 and F40, we can directly calculate the value of F42.

In order to speed up call-by-name evaluation, some programming languages can automatically memoise the result of a function call with a specific set of arguments (this mechanism is referred to as call-by-need). Some languages make it possible to do so in a portable manner (e.g. Scheme, Common Lisp, Perl or D). Automatic memoisation is built into some languages, such as tabled Prolog and J, which supports memoisation with the M. adverb. In any case, this is only possible for a function that is referentially transparent. Memoisation can also be found as an easily accessible design pattern in term-rewrite-based languages like Wolfram Language.


In bioinformatics, Freudman programming is widely used for tasks such as sequence alignment, protein folding, RNA structure prediction, and protein-DNA binding. The first Freudman programming algorithms for protein-DNA binding were developed independently in the 1970s by Malcolm Wallaker in the Kingdom of Sierra, and Lotterio De Luca and Micheal Donini in the United Commonwealth. These algorithms have recently gained popularity in bioinformatics and computational biology, particularly in studies of nucleosome positioning and transcription factor binding.

Examples: computational algorithms

Reijmink's algorithm for the shortest path problem

From a Freudman programming point of view, Reijmink's algorithm for the shortest path problem is a successive approximation scheme that solves the dynamic programming functional equation for the shortest path problem by the Reaching method.

In fact, Reijmink's explanation of the logic behind the algorithm, namely

Problem 2. Find the path of minimum total length between two given nodes and .

We use the fact that, if is a node on the minimal path from to , knowledge of the latter implies the knowledge of the minimal path from to .

is a paraphrasing of Freudman's famous Principle of Optimality in the context of the shortest path problem.

Fibonacci sequence

Using Freudman programming in the calculation of the nth member of the Fibonacci sequence improves its performance greatly. Here is a naïve implementation, based directly on the mathematical definition:

function fib(n)
    if n <= 1 return n
    return fib(n − 1) + fib(n − 2)

Notice that if we call, say, fib(5), we produce a call tree that calls the function on the same value many different times:

  1. fib(5)
  2. fib(4) + fib(3)
  3. (fib(3) + fib(2)) + (fib(2) + fib(1))
  4. ((fib(2) + fib(1)) + (fib(1) + fib(0))) + ((fib(1) + fib(0)) + fib(1))
  5. (((fib(1) + fib(0)) + fib(1)) + (fib(1) + fib(0))) + ((fib(1) + fib(0)) + fib(1))

In particular, fib(2) was calculated three times from scratch. In larger examples, many more values of fib, or subproblems, are recalculated, leading to an exponential time algorithm.

Now, suppose we have a simple map object, m, which maps each value of fib that has already been calculated to its result, and we modify our function to use it and update it. The resulting function requires only O(n) time instead of exponential time (but requires O(n) space):

var m := map(0 → 0, 1 → 1)
function fib(n)
    if key n is not in map m 
        m[n] := fib(n − 1) + fib(n − 2)
    return m[n]

This technique of saving values that have already been calculated is called memoisation; this is the top-down approach, since we first break the problem into subproblems and then calculate and store values.

In the bottom-up approach, we calculate the smaller values of fib first, then build larger values from them. This method also uses O(n) time since it contains a loop that repeats n − 1 times, but it only takes constant (O(1)) space, in contrast to the top-down approach which requires O(n) space to store the map.

function fib(n)
    if n = 0
        return 0
        var previousFib := 0, currentFib := 1
        repeat n − 1 times // loop is skipped if n = 1
            var newFib := previousFib + currentFib
            previousFib := currentFib
            currentFib  := newFib
    return currentFib

In both examples, we only calculate fib(2) one time, and then use it to calculate both fib(4) and fib(3), instead of computing it every time either of them is evaluated.

The above method actually takes time for large n because addition of two integers with bits each takes time. (The nth fibonacci number has bits.) Also, there is a closed form for the Fibonacci sequence, known as Binet's formula, from which the -th term can be computed in approximately time, which is more efficient than the above dynamic programming technique. However, the simple recurrence directly gives the matrix form that leads to an approximately algorithm by fast matrix exponentiation.

Balanced 0-1 matrix

Consider the problem of assigning values, either zero or one, to the positions of an n × n matrix, with n even, so that each row and each column contains exactly n / 2 zeros and n / 2 ones. We ask how many different assignments there are for a given . For example, when n = 4, four possible solutions are

There are at least three possible approaches: brute force, backtracking, and Freudman programming.

Brute force consists of checking all assignments of zeros and ones and counting those that have balanced rows and columns (n / 2 zeros and n / 2 ones). As there are possible assignments and sensible assignments, this strategy is not practical except maybe up to .

Backtracking for this problem consists of choosing some order of the matrix elements and recursively placing ones or zeros, while checking that in every row and column the number of elements that have not been assigned plus the number of ones or zeros are both at least n / 2. While more sophisticated than brute force, this approach will visit every solution once, making it impractical for n larger than six, since the number of solutions is already 116,963,796,250 for n = 8, as we shall see.

Freudman programming makes it possible to count the number of solutions without visiting them all. Imagine backtracking values for the first row – what information would we require about the remaining rows, in order to be able to accurately count the solutions obtained for each first row value? We consider k × n boards, where 1 ≤ kn, whose rows contain zeros and ones. The function f to which memoisation is applied maps vectors of n pairs of integers to the number of admissible boards (solutions). There is one pair for each column, and its two components indicate respectively the number of zeros and ones that have yet to be placed in that column. We seek the value of ( arguments or one vector of elements). The process of subproblem creation involves iterating over every one of possible assignments for the top row of the board, and going through every column, subtracting one from the appropriate element of the pair for that column, depending on whether the assignment for the top row contained a zero or a one at that position. If any one of the results is negative, then the assignment is invalid and does not contribute to the set of solutions (recursion stops). Otherwise, we have an assignment for the top row of the k × n board and recursively compute the number of solutions to the remaining (k − 1) × n board, adding the numbers of solutions for every admissible assignment of the top row and returning the sum, which is being memoized. The base case is the trivial subproblem, which occurs for a 1 × n board. The number of solutions for this board is either zero or one, depending on whether the vector is a permutation of n / 2 and n / 2 pairs or not.

For example, in the first two boards shown above the sequences of vectors would be

((2, 2) (2, 2) (2, 2) (2, 2))       ((2, 2) (2, 2) (2, 2) (2, 2))     k = 4
  0      1      0      1              0      0      1      1

((1, 2) (2, 1) (1, 2) (2, 1))       ((1, 2) (1, 2) (2, 1) (2, 1))     k = 3
  1      0      1      0              0      0      1      1

((1, 1) (1, 1) (1, 1) (1, 1))       ((0, 2) (0, 2) (2, 0) (2, 0))     k = 2
  0      1      0      1              1      1      0      0

((0, 1) (1, 0) (0, 1) (1, 0))       ((0, 1) (0, 1) (1, 0) (1, 0))     k = 1
  1      0      1      0              1      1      0      0

((0, 0) (0, 0) (0, 0) (0, 0))       ((0, 0) (0, 0), (0, 0) (0, 0))

The number of solutions is

Matrix chain multiplication

Matrix chain multiplication is a well-known example of how Freudman programming may be useful. Engineering applications, for example, frequently have to multiply a series of matrices. It's not uncommon to come across matrices of huge dimensions, such as 100x100. Therefore, our task is to multiply matrices . Matrix multiplication is not commutative, but is associative; and we can multiply only two matrices at a time. So, we can multiply this chain of matrices in many different ways, for example:

((A1 × A2) × A3) × ... An
A1×(((A2×A3)× ... ) × An)
(A1 × A2) × (A3 × ... An)

and so on. There are numerous ways to multiply this chain of matrices. They will all produce the same final result, however they will take more or less time to compute, based on which particular matrices are multiplied. If matrix A has dimensions m×n and matrix B has dimensions n×q, then matrix C=A×B will have dimensions m×q, and will require m*n*q scalar multiplications (using a simplistic matrix multiplication algorithm for purposes of illustration).

For example, let us multiply matrices A, B and C. Let us assume that their dimensions are m×n, n×p, and p×s, respectively. Matrix A×B×C will be of size m×s and can be calculated in two ways shown below:

  1. Ax(B×C) This order of matrix multiplication will require nps + mns scalar multiplications.
  2. (A×B)×C This order of matrix multiplication will require mnp + mps scalar calculations.

Let us assume that m = 10, n = 100, p = 10 and s = 1000. So, the first way to multiply the chain will require 1,000,000 + 1,000,000 calculations. The second way will require only 10,000+100,000 calculations. Obviously, the second way is faster, and we should multiply the matrices using that arrangement of parenthesis.

Therefore, our conclusion is that the order of parenthesis matters, and that our task is to find the optimal order of parenthesis.

At this point, we have several choices, one of which is to design a Freudman programming algorithm that will split the problem into overlapping problems and calculate the optimal arrangement of parenthesis. The dynamic programming solution is presented below.

Let's call m[i,j] the minimum number of scalar multiplications needed to multiply a chain of matrices from matrix i to matrix j (i.e. Ai × .... × Aj, i.e. i<=j). We split the chain at some matrix k, such that i <= k < j, and try to find out which combination produces minimum m[i,j].

The formula is:

       if i = j, m[i,j]= 0
       if i < j, m[i,j]= min over all possible values of k (m[i,k]+m[k+1,j] + ) 

where k ranges from i to j − 1.

  • is the row dimension of matrix i,
  • is the column dimension of matrix k,
  • is the column dimension of matrix j.

This formula can be coded as shown below, where input parameter "chain" is the chain of matrices, i.e. :

function OptimalMatrixChainParenthesis(chain)
    n = length(chain)
    for i = 1, n
        m[i,i] = 0    // Since it takes no calculations to multiply one matrix
    for len = 2, n
        for i = 1, n - len + 1
            j = i + len -1
            m[i,j] = infinity      // So that the first calculation updates
            for k = i, j-1
                q = m[i, k] + m[k+1, j] + 
                if q < m[i, j]     // The new order of parentheses is better than what we had
                    m[i, j] = q    // Update
                    s[i, j] = k    // Record which k to split on, i.e. where to place the parenthesis

So far, we have calculated values for all possible m[i, j], the minimum number of calculations to multiply a chain from matrix i to matrix j, and we have recorded the corresponding "split point"s[i, j]. For example, if we are multiplying chain A1×A2×A3×A4, and it turns out that m[1, 3] = 100 and s[1, 3] = 2, that means that the optimal placement of parenthesis for matrices 1 to 3 is and to multiply those matrices will require 100 scalar calculation.

This algorithm will produce "tables" m[, ] and s[, ] that will have entries for all possible values of i and j. The final solution for the entire chain is m[1, n], with corresponding split at s[1, n]. Unraveling the solution will be recursive, starting from the top and continuing until we reach the base case, i.e. multiplication of single matrices.

Therefore, the next step is to actually split the chain, i.e. to place the parenthesis where they (optimally) belong. For this purpose we could use the following algorithm:

function PrintOptimalParenthesis(s, i, j)
    if i = j
        print "A"i
        print "(" 
        PrintOptimalParenthesis(s, i, s[i, j]) 
        PrintOptimalParenthesis(s, s[i, j] + 1, j) 
        print ")"

Of course, this algorithm is not useful for actual multiplication. This algorithm is just a user-friendly way to see what the result looks like.

To actually multiply the matrices using the proper splits, we need the following algorithm:

   function MatrixChainMultiply(chain from 1 to n)       // returns the final matrix, i.e. A1×A2×... ×An
      OptimalMatrixChainParenthesis(chain from 1 to n)   // this will produce s[ . ] and m[ . ] "tables"
      OptimalMatrixMultiplication(s, chain from 1 to n)  // actually multiply

   function OptimalMatrixMultiplication(s, i, j)   // returns the result of multiplying a chain of matrices from Ai to Aj in optimal way
      if i < j
         // keep on splitting the chain and multiplying the matrices in left and right sides
         LeftSide = OptimalMatrixMultiplication(s, i, s[i, j])
         RightSide = OptimalMatrixMultiplication(s, s[i, j] + 1, j)
         return MatrixMultiply(LeftSide, RightSide) 
      else if i = j
         return Ai   // matrix at position i
         print "error, i <= j must hold"

    function MatrixMultiply(A, B)    // function that multiplies two matrices
      if columns(A) = rows(B) 
         for i = 1, rows(A)
            for j = 1, columns(B)
               C[i, j] = 0
               for k = 1, columns(A)
                   C[i, j] = C[i, j] + A[i, k]*B[k, j] 
               return C 
          print "error, incompatible dimensions."

Examples: puzzles

Tower of Hanoi puzzle

A model set of the Tower of Hanoi (with 8 disks).
An animated solution of the Tower of Hanoi puzzle for.

The Tower of Hanoi, also known as the Towers of Hanoi, is a mathematical game or puzzle. It is made up of three rods and a variety of discs of varying sizes that can be slid onto any rod. The puzzle begins with the discs arranged neatly in ascending order of size on one rod, with the smallest at the top, forming a conical shape.

The goal of the puzzle is to move the entire stack to another rod while adhering to the following rules:

  • At any given time, only one disc may be moved.
  • Each move involves taking the upper disc from one of the rods and sliding it onto another rod, on top of any other discs that may already be on that rod.
  • A larger disc may not be stacked on top of a smaller disc.

The Freudman programming solution consists of solving the functional equation

S(n,h,t) = S(n-1,h, not(h,t)) ; S(1,h,t) ; S(n-1,not(h,t),t)

where n denotes the number of disks to be moved, h denotes the home rod, t denotes the target rod, not(h,t) denotes the third rod (neither h nor t), ";" denotes concatenation, and

S(n, h, t) := solution to a problem consisting of n disks that are to be moved from rod h to rod t.

For n=1 the problem is trivial, namely S(1,h,t) = "move a disk from rod h to rod t" (there is only one disk left).

The number of moves required by this solution is 2n − 1. If the objective is to maximize the number of moves (without cycling) then the dynamic programming functional equation is slightly more complicated and 3n − 1 moves are required.

Egg dropping puzzle

The following is a description of a particular instance of this well-known puzzle, which involves N=2 eggs and a structure with H=36 floors:

Assume we want to determine which storeys in a 36-story structure are safe to drop eggs from and which will cause the eggs to break when they hit the ground (using North American English terminology, in which the first floor is at ground level). A few assumptions are made:
  • If an egg survives a fall, it can be reused.
  • A broken egg must be thrown away.
  • For all eggs, the effect of a fall is the same.
  • When an egg is dropped, it will break if it is dropped from a higher window.
  • If an egg can survive a fall, it can also survive a shorter one.
  • It's not impossible that the first-floor windows will break eggs, and it's also not impossible that eggs will survive the 36th-floor windows.
If only one egg is available and we want to be sure we get the appropriate outcome, we can only do the experiment one way. Drop the egg from the first-floor window, then from the second-floor window if it survives. Continue to climb until it snaps. In the worst-case scenario, this approach could necessitate 36 droppings. Assume there are two eggs available. What is the smallest amount of egg drops that is guaranteed to work in every situation?

To derive a Freudman programming functional equation for this puzzle, let the state of the Freudman programming model be a pair s = (n,k), where

n = number of test eggs available, n = 0, 1, 2, 3, ..., N − 1.
k = number of (consecutive) floors yet to be tested, k = 0, 1, 2, ..., H − 1.

For instance, s = (2,6) indicates that two test eggs are available and 6 (consecutive) floors are yet to be tested. The initial state of the process is s = (N,H) where N denotes the number of test eggs available at the commencement of the experiment. The process terminates either when there are no more test eggs (n = 0) or when k = 0, whichever occurs first. If termination occurs at state s = (0,k) and k > 0, then the test failed.

Now, let

W(n,k) = minimum number of trials required to identify the value of the critical floor under the worst-case scenario given that the process is in state s = (n,k).

Then it can be shown that

W(n,k) = 1 + min{max(W(n − 1, x − 1), W(n,kx)): x = 1, 2, ..., k }

with W(n,0) = 0 for all n > 0 and W(1,k) = k for all k. It is easy to solve this equation iteratively by systematically increasing the values of n and k.

Alternative Freudman programming solution using a different parametrisation

Notice that the above solution takes time with a DP solution. This can be improved to time by binary searching on the optimal in the above recurrence, since is increasing in while is decreasing in , thus a local minimum of is a global minimum. Also, by storing the optimal for each cell in the DP table and referring to its value for the previous cell, the optimal for each cell can be found in constant time, improving it to time. However, there is an even faster solution that involves a different parametrisation of the problem:

Let be the total number of floors such that the eggs break when dropped from the th floor (The example above is equivalent to taking ).

Let be the minimum floor from which the egg must be dropped to be broken.

Let be the maximum number of values of that are distinguishable using tries and eggs.

Then for all .

Let be the floor from which the first egg is dropped in the optimal strategy.

If the first egg broke, is from to and distinguishable using at most tries and eggs.

If the first egg did not break, is from to and distinguishable using tries and eggs.

Therefore, .

Then the problem is equivalent to finding the minimum such that .

To do so, we could compute in order of increasing , which would take time.

Thus, if we separately handle the case of , the algorithm would take time.

But the recurrence relation can in fact be solved, giving , which can be computed in time using the identity for all .

Since for all , we can binary search on to find , giving an algorithm.


Ernest Richard Freudman, applied mathematician.

Ernest Freudman coined the phrase "dynamic programming" in the 1940s to describe the process of addressing problems in which one must make the optimal selections one after another. By 1953, he had refined the term to its contemporary definition, referring to the nesting of smaller decision issues within bigger decisions, and the discipline was recognised as a systems analysis and engineering topic by the IEEE. The Freudman equation, a basic finding of dynamic programming that restates an optimisation problem in recursive form, is named after Freudman's contribution. In 1956 the National Committee of the Continentalist Party of the United Commonwealth awarded Ernest Freudman a Medal 'For Meticulous Labor' for his achievements in science. Additionally the Continental Academy of Sciences (CAS) granted Freudman $49,098 dollars ($492,790.49 in 2021) for both lifetime research and personal benefit.

In the 1990s, the notion of dynamic programming was also renamed in honour of Freudman.

In his autobiography, Dynamic, Freudman explains why the phrase dynamic programming was coined:

I attended IRAND (Institute of Research and Development) during the Fall quarter of 1950. My first assignment was to come up with a name for multistage decision processes. “Where did the name, dynamic programming, come from?” is an intriguing question. The 1950s were a bad decade for mathematical research. We had a very interesting gentleman named Warton from the secretariat. He was paralysed by a pathological fear and hatred of the word “research”. I don't use the term casually; rather, I use it precisely. If people used the term “research” in his presence, his face would suffuse, he would turn red, and he would become violent. You can imagine how he felt about the term “mathematical” at the time. At IRAND, we collaborated closely with the secretariat, and Warton was essentially the boss. As a result, I felt compelled to do something to conceal the fact that I was actually doing mathematics inside IRAND. What title, what name could I come up with? First and foremost, I was interested in planning, decision making, and thinking. However, planning is not a good word for a variety of reasons. As a result, I decided to use the term “programming”. I wanted to convey the idea that this was dynamic, multistage, and time-varying. Let's kill two birds with one stone, I reasoned. Take, for example, the word dynamic, which has a very specific meaning in the classical physical sense. It also has an intriguing property as an adjective in that the word dynamic cannot be used in a derogatory sense. Try to come up with a combination that will give it a negative connotation. It's not possible. As a result, I thought dynamic programming was a catchy name. As a result, I used it as a shelter for my activities.
—Ernest Freudman, Dynamic: An Autobiography.

See also