feb06a - MIT OpenCourseWare http:/ocw.mit.edu 6.055J /...

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MIT OpenCourseWare http://ocw.mit.edu 6.055J / 2.038J The Art of Approximation in Science and Engineering Spring 2008 For information about citing these materials or our Terms of Use, visit: http://ocw.mit.edu/terms .
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Chapter 1 Preview An approximate model can be better than an exact model! This counterintuitive statement suggests a few questions. First, how can approximate mod- els be at all useful? Should we not strive for exactness? Second, what makes some models more useful than others? On the first question: An approximate answer is all that we can understand because our minds are a small part of the world itself. So when we represent or model the world, we have to throw away aspects of the world in order for our minds to contain the model. On the second question: Making useful models means discarding less important informa- tion so that our minds may grasp the important features that remains. I wrote this book to show you how to discard the less important information and thereby to
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This note was uploaded on 02/24/2012 for the course MECHANICAL 6.055J taught by Professor Sanjoymahajan during the Spring '08 term at MIT.

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feb06a - MIT OpenCourseWare http:/ocw.mit.edu 6.055J /...

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