Monday, August 28, 2006

0 Numerical vs. Symbolic Problems

This is based upon today's reading from the book Mechanics of Materials (James Gere, 6th Edition) .

Some mathematical problems are numerical in nature, while others are symbolic.

Advantage of numerical problems :
a. Magnitudes of all quantities are evident at every stage of the calculation, thus providing an opportunity to judge whether the values are reasonable or not.
b. Working with specific units of measurement such as S.I, U.S Customary System (USCS) etc.

Advantage of symbolic problems :
a. They lead to general purpose formulas that help us deduce how each quantity will or can affect the other in the same equation.
b. One can check for dimensional accuracy at each stage.
c. One can obtain a general purpose formula by solving algebraically rather than in numbers, which can be further used for other problems.


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