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This book is intended for a first course in the calculus of variations, at the senior or beginning graduate level. The reader will learn methods for finding functions that maximize or minimize integrals. The text lays out important necessary and sufficient conditions for extrema in historical order, and it illustrates these conditions with numerous worked-out examples from mechanics, optics, geometry, and other fields. The exposition starts with simple integrals containing a single independent variable, a single dependent variable, and a single derivative, subject to weak variations, but steadily moves on to more advanced topics, including multivariate problems, constrained extrema, homogeneous problems, problems with variable endpoints, broken extremals, strong variations, and sufficiency conditions. Numerous line drawings clarify the mathematics. Each chapter ends with recommended readings that introduce the student to the relevant scientific literature and with exercises that consolidate understanding.
This book provides a basic, initial resource, introducing science and engineering students to the field of optimization. It covers three main areas: mathematical programming, calculus of variations and optimal control, highlighting the ideas and concepts and offering insights into the importance of optimality conditions in each area. It also systematically presents affordable approximation methods. Exercises at various levels have been included to support the learning process.
A first course in celestial mechanics emphasising the variety of geometric ideas that have shaped the subject.
The calculus of variations is used to find functions that optimize quantities expressed in terms of integrals. Optimal control theory seeks to find functions that minimize cost integrals for systems described by differential equations. This book is an introduction to both the classical theory of the calculus of variations and the more modern developments of optimal control theory from the perspective of an applied mathematician. It focuses on understanding concepts and how to apply them. The range of potential applications is broad: the calculus of variations and optimal control theory have been widely used in numerous ways in biology, criminology, economics, engineering, finance, management science, and physics. Applications described in this book include cancer chemotherapy, navigational control, and renewable resource harvesting. The prerequisites for the book are modest: the standard calculus sequence, a first course on ordinary differential equations, and some facility with the use of mathematical software. It is suitable for an undergraduate or beginning graduate course, or for self study. It provides excellent preparation for more advanced books and courses on the calculus of variations and optimal control theory.