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Discrete and continuous problems

  1. Jun 4, 2007 #1
    Hi all,

    There are some dificult problems with discrete argument n that will be very easy if I can change it to continuous argument x. But I do not know what is the condition for that.
    For example: to calculate the sum of a1+a2 +a3+...an. when n goes to infinity, can I make it as S=integral of a(x) from xo to infinity ?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 5, 2007 #2


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    It depends very much on how you define a(x) for x not an integer.
  4. Jun 5, 2007 #3
    Could you please explain more about that.
    I just think the sume of An is similar to the way we calculate the integral in calculus. I mean Sum(An) = a1*d+a2*d+....an*d where d equals 1. When we calculate to rather large integer n, then d = 1 is small enough to have adequate accuracy.
    May I think that this can happen only when f(x) must have positive (or negartive) derivative all over the domain, and f(x) must also have no critical points. ?
  5. Jun 6, 2007 #4


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    Since a(x) has to be defined for x not integer, the integral will depend on precisely how it is defined. For example, linear interpolation between the integer values will give you a function which can be integrated to give the same result as the summation.
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