- #1

LagrangeEuler

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##\delta I=\delta^2 I=0##. Then I must go with finding further variations. And if ##\delta^3I>0## is then that minimum? Or what?

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- Thread starter LagrangeEuler
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In summary, the calculus of variations is a mathematical field that deals with finding the extrema of functionals, which are mathematical expressions that take in a function as input and output a real number. It differs from traditional calculus in that it extends the concept of finding extrema to functions of functions. The Euler-Lagrange equation is a necessary condition for a function to be an extremum and is used to find critical points. The calculus of variations has many real-world applications, but it may have limitations in finding global extrema and may not be applicable to some problems with constraints or discontinuities.

- #1

LagrangeEuler

- 717

- 20

##\delta I=\delta^2 I=0##. Then I must go with finding further variations. And if ##\delta^3I>0## is then that minimum? Or what?

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- #2

voko

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I suggest you ask the same question in a simpler situation: ordinary single-variable function.

- #3

dauto

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The calculus of variations is a mathematical field that deals with finding the extrema (maximum or minimum) of a functional, which is a mathematical expression that takes in a function as its input and outputs a real number. It has various applications in physics, engineering, and economics, where the goal is to find the optimal solution that maximizes or minimizes a certain quantity.

Traditional calculus deals with finding the extrema of functions of one or more variables. The calculus of variations extends this concept to functions of functions, where the goal is to find the function that produces the extrema of a functional. This means that instead of optimizing a fixed function, we are optimizing a family of functions.

The Euler-Lagrange equation is a necessary condition for a function to be an extremum of a functional. It is derived by setting the functional's first variation (change in output) to zero and solving for the function. It is used to find the critical points of a functional, which are potential extrema.

Yes, the calculus of variations has many practical applications in fields such as physics, engineering, and economics. For example, it can be used to find the trajectory of a projectile that minimizes air resistance, or the shape of a beam that minimizes its deflection under a given load. It can also be used to optimize processes and systems in economics, such as finding the production level that maximizes profit.

One limitation of the calculus of variations is that it cannot always find the global extrema of a functional. This means that there may be multiple solutions that satisfy the Euler-Lagrange equation, but only one of them is the true extremum. Additionally, the calculus of variations may not be applicable to some problems with constraints or discontinuities in the functional. In these cases, other methods such as the calculus of constrained variations may be used.

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