What is optimization?

Optimization means finding the parameters which make for the best possible solution of a problem. If you want to travel by car from A to B in the least possible time, the shortest road is not always the right answer. You need to take into account, for instance, if the road is congested. Therefore, a longer way may let you arrive faster. Finding this answer involves a "travel-time" optimization.

In many technological, industrial, commercial or scientific areas it is often the case that solving a problem involves parameter optimization.

How does evolutionary optimization work?

Evolutionary optimization proceeds by calculating the function to optimize for many different parameters, selecting the optimal one, and repeating this procedure over many "generations". This is illustrated in the figure below.