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Algorithm for cheapest order

  1. Dec 3, 2012 #1
    I have a problem in which I have people ordering different goods from my website and I have a number of suppliers who provide these goods, but I need an algorithm to find the cheapest combination of supplies from each supplier. It would seem easiest to just see which company offers the product at the lowest price, but I need to take into account that it may be cheaper delivery if I order from as few people as possible, and also that not every supplier will offer every product.

    Does anybody know a good algorithm for working this out or have any advice on the problem? Any help would be very much appreciated, no matter how small.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 3, 2012 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    This type of problem is standard fare in Operations Research, and the particular area is called Linear Programming. In a typical problem, the goal is to maximize profit, taking into consideration a number of constraints, such as production costs, supply costs, availability of machinery, and so on.
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