||This article needs attention from an expert in mathematics. (April 2009)
Discrete optimization is a branch of optimization in applied mathematics and computer science.
As opposed to continuous optimization, the variables used in the mathematical program (or some of them) are restricted to assume only discrete values, such as the integers.
Two notable branches of discrete optimization are:
These branches are closely intertwined however since many combinatorial optimization problems can be modeled as integer programs (e.g. shortest path) and conversely, integer programs can often be given a combinatorial interpretation.