Problem Solving with Extrema

This page describes real problems, both small and large, that Extrema has been used to solve. From time to time we update it with new problem-solving stories, to illustrate the wide range of difficult problems that Extrema can tackle.

The Spread-Out Bragg Peak Problem

The Problem: The radiation dose resulting from a proton passing through living tissue has a sharp, narrow peak, known as a Bragg peak. In certain cancer therapies, the desired radiation dose should have a broad, flat peak, where the flat section corresponds to the extent of the tumour being treated. The problem is how to deliver the dosage in a broad, flat distribution when the radiation is naturally deposited in narrow Bragg peaks.

Click here to see how this problem was solved using Extrema.

The Waterpipes Problem

The Problem: We were given the job of figuring out the minimum amount of water pipe necessary to connect up the houses on a street to a water main. We had to determine where to dig a straight trench down the street for the water main pipe. The houses are set back from the street by varying distances, and ideally each house should be about 5 meters from the water main. The problem was to find the trench that would result in the minimum usage of water pipe segments from the main to the houses, and the total length of the pipe needed.

Click here to see how this problem was solved using Extrema.