The knapsack problem or rucksack problem is a problem in combinatorial optimization: Given a set of items, each with a weight and a value, determine the number of each item to include in a collection so that the total weight is less than or equal to a given limit and the total value is as large as possible. It derives its name from the problem faced by someone who is constrained by a fixed-size knapsack and must fill it with the most valuable items.
The problem often arises in resource allocation where there are financial constraints and is studied in fields such as combinatorics, computer science, complexity theory, cryptography, applied mathematics, and daily fantasy sports.
The knapsack problem has been studied for more than a century, with early works dating as far back as 1897. The name "knapsack problem" dates back to the early works of mathematician Tobias Dantzig (1884–1956), and refers to the commonplace problem of packing your most valuable items without overloading your luggage.