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Discussion: All in Calculus
Topic: Tool: Polynomial Fitting
Related Item: http://mathforum.org/mathtools/tool/2141/


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Subject:   Tool: Polynomial Fitting
Author: Steve
Date: Mar 6 2004
http://mathforum.org/te/exchange/hosted/palu/polynomialftting/PolyFitApplet.html

Sione introduced me to this one a while ago.  Sione mentions just 2 of hundreds
of different uses for this applet in physics.  The environment is
user-friendly, with easily changable data tables.  This would be a great
applet to use in any math or science classroom.  It will fit any points to a
polynomial up to the 10th degree.

I am curious as to why the program limits itself to a polynomial of degree
(n-2), where n is the number of data points.  Can't polynomials fit any data
points if they are of (n-1) degree?  To put it more simply: I tried putting in
(1,1), (2,8), (3,27), and (4,64).  A cubic polynomial would obviously fit the
data, but the program restricts the fitting curve to a polynomial of degree 2,
since there are only 4 points. Perhaps this task of fitting to degree (n-1) is
difficult to program--I don't know enough about making java applets to say one
way or another.

Also, I was thinking about the swinging pendulum example, and wondered if there
could be a way to plot data of the pendulum's position, as well.  It might be
nice if there was an applet that fit sinusoidal data, or if it could be worked
into this one.

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