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Mathematica, a New Tool for Studying Optimization

John H. Mathews
Organization: California State University Fullerton
Department: Mathematics
URL: http://mathfaculty.fullerton.edu/mathews/
Journal / Anthology

International Journal of Mathematics Education in Science and Technology
Year: 1991
Volume: 22
Issue: 4
Page range: 569-576

An important topic in calculus is optimization. Historically, it has been presented as an application involving curve sketching and differentiation, and is used to show how the theory is put to practical use. From the pedagogical side, we want students to understand the first and second derivative tests and their relationship to a graph. But, we have the unhappy situation that many students are weak in both these areas. We show how a computer algebra system (CAS) is used to assist the teaching of optimization. Computation of derivatives are handled with the symbolic capabilities of a CAS. Topics from analytic geometry, such as the inflection point, are illuminated with the high-resolution graphics capabilities of CAS.

*Applied Mathematics > Optimization