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calculus of variations

noun
1.
the branch of mathematics that deals with the problem of finding a curve or surface that maximizes or minimizes a given expression, usually with several restrictions placed on the desired curve.
Origin
1830-1840
1830-40
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for calculus of variations

calculus of variations

noun
1.
a branch of calculus concerned with maxima and minima of definite integrals
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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calculus of variations in Science
calculus of variations  
Mathematical analysis of the maxima and minima of definite integrals, the integrands of which are functions of independent variables, dependent variables, and the derivatives of one or more dependent variables. Compare differential calculus, integral calculus.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for calculus of variations

branch of mathematics concerned with the problem of finding a function for which the value of a certain integral is either the largest or the smallest possible. Many problems of this kind are easy to state, but their solutions commonly involve difficult procedures of the differential calculus and differential equations.

Learn more about calculus of variations with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Difficulty index for calculus of variations

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Word Value for calculus

12
18
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