In mathematics, the theory of optimal stopping or early stopping is concerned with the problem of choosing a time to take a particular action, in order to maximise an expected reward or minimise an expected cost. Optimal stopping problems can be found in areas of statistics, economics, and mathematical finance. A key example of an optimal stopping problem is the secretary problem. Optimal stopping problems can often be written in the form of a Bellman equation, and are therefore often solved using dynamic programming.