c14mudd - 18.03 Muddy Card responses, March 10, 2006 1. The...

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18.03 Muddy Card responses, March 10, 2006 1. The commonest question concerned the idea and utility of operators. I’ll say something now. You can look ahead at the “exponential shift law” if you want, to see one use later. An operator modiFes a function in some way. D differentiates, so Dx = x ˙. [The independent variable isn’t indicated in the notation,, and has to be gleaned from the context. In fact in one of the lectures I muddied the waters further by writing Dx 2 = 2 x , so in that instance the independent variable must have been x . If it had been t , the correct formula would have been Dx 2 = 2 xx ˙, which could aslo be written Dx 2 = 2 xDx .] You can multiply operators and add them. Multiplication means “compose”: so D 2 means “do D twice,” or take the second derivative. If we want to express, say, ¨ x + bx ˙ + kx as the effect of an operator on the function x , we’ll need a symbol for the operator which leaves x alone, the identity operator. Some books use
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This note was uploaded on 01/31/2011 for the course MAT 17A taught by Professor Staff during the Winter '08 term at UC Davis.

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