How to get started with Solver for Minimization Function

Occasional Visitor


I am new to Excel's solver tool and have a function I would like to minimize.  I am struggling with how to set it up.

The problem is:  I am hosting several events (5) that need social distancing so I am spreading out the people that will come to them.  I have employees that will come to 1, 2, 3, 4, or all 5 events.  It doesn't matter which ones they come to, but I would like to minimize the number that come across all events.  So to make it simple say I have events scheduled Monday to Friday, I would like to make sure that the staff coming to only one event and attend on Monday, don't overlap with the people attending only 2 events - so I can minimize the number each day.


I started off with a total number of staff - say 100 for ease.

Then I have variables as the number of people in each of the "events buckets" I mentioned above (1 through 5). I want to minimize the function of 1*(# of staff for 1 event) + 2*(# of staff for 2 events) + ... + 5*(# staff for 5 events).  

I am getting stuck with how to put this into the solver.  I also wrote out the events as well (Event 1, Event 2, etc.) and am still stuck.  Does anyone have a good idea on how to approach this please? to help me set it up.



1 Reply


It is not clear to me what is your decision variables?

what is the thing that you want to control or know?


If an employee wants to come to events 1,2, and 4. What can you control in their decision?

It is not clear.