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Homework Help: Infinite Series

  1. Nov 27, 2008 #1
    Concept question:

    What are they used for? I understand functions used for position/time/velocity etc., but what are infinite series actually used for?

    Are they just a sum of numbers with no application? I'd like to know what I'm devoting my brainpower to before I spend massive amounts of time understanding their behavior and solution methods.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 28, 2008 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    A concrete application is how calculators are able to calculate such functions as sin, cos, and so on. They don't actually add up the terms in an infinite series, but use a lookup table that has values computed from one kind of infinite series.

    A series offers a way to calculate functions that would be very difficult to work with otherwise, using only ordinary addition operations (add, subtract, multiply, divide), which can be done very quickly in a calculator or on a computer.
  4. Nov 28, 2008 #3
    Haha wow man, I never thought of that. They're like a doorway to the more complex functions. I also read that Newton used to use sequences and just integrate them at a point.

    Thanks for the info
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