calculus of variations

calculus of variations

noun
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:
1830–40

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Collins
World English Dictionary
calculus of variations
 
n
a branch of calculus concerned with maxima and minima of definite integrals

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
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 Britannica
Encyclopedia

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.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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