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calculus|Views: 19|Likes: 0

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Suppose x0 is an interior point of the domain of a function f(x), and f(x)

is diﬀerentiable at x0. Assume also that f(x0) and f (x0) are known. The

method of approximation by diﬀerentials provides an approximate values

f(x1) if x1 is near x0. We use the symbol ‘*≈*’ to stand for ‘is approximately’.

One uses the formula

f(x1)*≈*f(x0) +f (x0)(x1*−*x0).

(2.62)

On the right hand side in (2.62) we have l(x1), the tangent line to the graph

of f(x) at (x0,f(x0)) evaluated at x1. In the sense of Deﬁnition 2.2, f(x1)

is close to l(x1) for x1 near x0.

Example 2.79. Find an approximate value for 3*√*9.

Solution: We set f(x) = 3*√*x, so we are supposed to ﬁnd f(9). Note

that

f (x) = 1

3x−2/3

, f(8) = 2, and f (8) = 1

12.

Formula (2.62), applied with x1 = 9 and x0 = 8, says that

3*√*9 = f(9)*≈*2 + 1

12(9*−*8) = 25

12* ≈*2.0833.

Your calculator will give you 3*√*9* ≈* 2.0801. The method gave us a pretty

good answer. ♦

Example 2.80. Find an approximate value for tan46◦.

Solution: We carry out the calculation in radial measure. Note that

46◦ = 45◦ + 1◦, and this corresponds to π/4 + π/180. Use the function

f(x) = tanx. Then f (x) = sec2

x, f(π/4) = 1, and f (π/4) = 2. Formula

(2.62), applied with x1 = (π/4 +π/180) and x0 = π/4 says

tan46◦ = tan

π

4 + π

180

*≈*tan

π

4

+ sec2

π

4

π

180

= 1 + π

90* ≈*1.0349.

*2.14. NUMERICAL METHODS
*

119

Your calculator will give you tan46◦* ≈*1.0355. Again we get a pretty close

answer using the method. ♦

Remark 10. When you apply (2.62), then you may ask what value to take

for x0. A useful choice will be an x0 which is close to x1, and for which you

have little diﬃculties ﬁnding f(x0) and f (x0).

Exercise 91. Use approximation by diﬀerentials to ﬁnd approximate values

for

(1) 5*√*34 (2) tan31◦ (3) ln1.2 (4) arctan1.1.

In each case, compare your answer with one found on your calculator.

We have been causal in (2.62) insofar as we have not estimated the error

which we make using the right hand side of (2.62) instead of of the actual

value of the function on the left hand side. The inequality in Deﬁnition 2.2

provides us with an estimate. Diﬀerentiability of the function f(x) means

that there exist numbers A and d > 0, such that

*|*f(x1)*−*[f(x0) +f (x0)(x1*−*x0)*|≤*A(x1*−*x0)2

whenever*|*x1*−*x0*|*< d. Thus, if we know A and d, then we can approximate

the error as long as* |*x1*−*x0*|*< d.

Example 2.81. Find an approximate value for sin31◦ and estimate the

error.

Solution: Set f(x) = sinx. The f (x) = cosx, f(π/6) = 1/2, and

f (π/6) =* √*3/2. Measuring angles in radians we set x0 = π/6 and x1 =

π/6 +π/180. Applying the formula in (2.62), we ﬁnd

sin31◦* ≈*sin π

6 + π

180 cos π

6 = 1

2

1 +*√*3 π

180

*≈*.515115.

The calculator will tell that sin31◦* ≈*.515038.

From the computation in Example 2.11 on page 50 we also know that

we may use A = 1 and d = π/4 in the diﬀerentiability estimate. We may

apply the estimate because* |*x1*−*x0*|* < π/4. The estimate assures us that

the error is at most

(x1*−*x0)2

=

π

180

2

*≤*.000305.

Comparison of the actual and approximate value conﬁrm this. ♦

120

*CHAPTER 2. THE DERIVATIVE
*

Example 2.82. Use approximation by diﬀerentials to ﬁnd an approximate

value of* √*10 and give an upper bound for the error.

Solution: We use f(x) =* √*x and x0 = 9. The f (x) = 1/(2*√*x),

f(x0) = 3, and f (x0) = 1/6. The formula in (2.62) tells us that

*√*10 = f(10)*≈*f(9) +f (9)(10*−*9) = 3 + 1

6* ≈*3.16666.

The calculator will give you* √*10*≈*3.16228.

For the error estimate we may use

A = 1

2(*√*x0)3

and any d > 0. This is the A which we picked in (2.18) while proving

Proposition 2.15. The estimate assures us that the error is at most

1

2(*√*x0)3(x1*−*x0)2

= 1

54.

The actual error is again substantially less than this. ♦

Exercise 92. Use approximation by diﬀerentials to ﬁnd approximate values

for

(1) cos28◦ (2)* √*26 (3) sin47◦.

In each case, estimate also the maximal error which you may have made by

using the method of approximation by diﬀerentials.

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