A mathematical model is a description of a system using mathematical concepts and language. The process of developing a mathematical model is termed mathematical modelling.

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Optimizing response times of an ambulance corp: short-term versus average

Background: I work for an Ambulance service. We are one of the largest ambulance services in the world. We have a dispatch system that will always send the closest ambulance to any emergency call. ...
28
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5answers
872 views

Why does adding a term $5f'(t)$ to $5f''(t)+10f(t)=0$ cause damping?

So we have a differential equation to model an oscillator: $$5f''(t)+10f(t)=0$$ Where the initial conditions are $f(0)=0$ and $f'(0)=4$. It is given that $f(t) = \frac{2\sqrt 2}{5}\sin\sqrt2 t$. ...
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7answers
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Geometrical construction for Snell's law?

Snell's law from geometrical optics states that the ratio of the angles of incidence $\theta_1$ and of the angle of refraction $\theta_2$ as shown in figure1, is the same as the opposite ratio of the ...
14
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5answers
154 views

Can we abuse traffic patterns to get home earlier?

I had a heated discussion with my co-worker today, and was wondering if someone here could shed some light on this situation. The post is a bit lengthy, but I wanted to put all my intuition down in ...
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1answer
2k views

Probability in single-lane traffic flow: What are the odds of “choke points” being encountered?

Let's say you have a single-lane road (single in this case meaning single lane in each direction, or what you could also call two-lane). Let's say you have a random number of vehicles on a given 10-...
10
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3answers
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Is there a general solution for the “Spider and the Fly Problem”?

(I would be appreciative if somebody could give a more formal formulation of this problem.) The Spider and the Fly Problem is a problem in which the objective is to minimize the distance the spider ...
9
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3answers
367 views

How do you go about formalizing a concept?

I am reading Godel Escher Bach. I love it. In the first few chapters, the author shows what a formal system is and gives examples that eventually lead to a typographical formal system of strings that ...
9
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1answer
241 views

The theory in probability

Consider a real-life experiment (perhaps written as a problem in a textbook): A coin is continually tossed until two consecutive heads are observed. Assume that the results of the tosses are mutually ...
8
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1answer
311 views

Why is it important to find both solutions to a second order linear differential equation?

Given the equation $$y'' + y=0$$ A solution is $y=\sin(t)$ Why can't we stop there since we know a way to solve the system? Why should we consider all of the ways to solve the system? I would ...
8
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2answers
249 views

Explaining Mathematical Modelling to a nonmathematician

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of my project, I find myself collaborating a lot with nonmathematicians especially biologists, medical doctors, etc. I work mostly on mathematical models as applied ...
7
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3answers
319 views

What sort of mathematical methods and models are used to model the brain

What sorts of mathematical tools, models and methods and theoretical frameworks do people use to simulate the function of the brain's neural networks? What mathematical properties do different brains ...
7
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1answer
197 views

Is there any probability model for multi-stage motion of an object such as this.

I have this following case (please refer to attached pic below) where a particle is resting on the ground and it needs a minimum amount of force (Fmin) to reach from one level to the next level. But ...
6
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3answers
849 views

Probability sum of 5 before sum of 7

Pair of fair die are rolled (independently I hope) infinitely. Find probability sum of 5 appears before sum of 7. 2 approaches: $$P(\text{sum of 5 appears before sum of 7})$$ $$= P(\text{roll 1 ...
6
votes
1answer
140 views

How can I model the number of insects in a house?

I really don't know if this question applies here or if it makes sense, but I'm curious as to whether these ideas are commonly used. Imagine you are in a room, this room has holes, where bugs may ...
6
votes
1answer
797 views

Finding a general equation for number of paths through grid

I started with a 4x4 grid (although I want to eventually generalize for an n x n grid). You must move through a grid on the squares, not on the grid lines. The number of paths for path length = 1 is ...
6
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3answers
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How to formulate constrained optimization problems

For a constrained optimization problem, there can be different formulations. For example, consider the problem with the following formulation: $$\min_{x \in X \subseteq \mathbb{R}^n} \, f(x), $$ ...
6
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1answer
231 views

Sunk cost auction modeling.

Consider the following auction concept. I call it a "SUNK COST AUCTION" Each person bids, but you pay all of the money that you bid for every bid you make. So, if you bid \$1 that \$1 is gone, even if ...
6
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1answer
3k views

Linear Programming: Three variable graphical solution

A small bank offers three type of loans: housing loans at $8.50$% interest, education loans at $13.75$% interest rates, and loans to senior citizens at $12.25$% interest. Further, it needs to ...
6
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0answers
312 views

Response Surface Methodology using Moving Least Squares Method

I would like to obtain the response surface of a mathematical function for reliability-based design optimization (RBDO). To obtain a reliably response surface, I learned that moving least squares ...
6
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0answers
466 views

Modelling a Water Rocket. Requires Some Validation and Help. ( WARNING : Extremely Long but Interesting Post )

Good day people of math.stackexchange.com This is a pet project that I plan to use to convince my Prof that I would rather try something similar to this than to do the prescribed project. Edit : ...
5
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4answers
2k views

Cat Dog problem using integration

Consider this equation : $$\sqrt{\left( \frac{dy\cdot u\,dt}{L}\right)^2+(dy)^2}=v\,dt,$$ where $t$ varies from $0$ to $T$ , and $y$ varies from $0$ to $L$. Now how to proceed ? This equation ...
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2answers
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What is a “free parameter” in a computational model?

In many articles regarding computational models of some particular phenomenon, there seems to be a consensus: "the smaller the number of 'free parameters' in the model, the better". So, what is meant ...
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2answers
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Cleaning up the Great Lakes - Differential equation systems

Problem Details The idea of the problem is to find out how long it would take to flush the Great Lakes of pollution. They're set up as a series of five tanks and you are given inflow rates of clean ...
5
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2answers
135 views

Are there rigorous mathematical definitions for these waves?

My friend linked this .gif to me tonight, and asked me if I knew of any equations that might model these bottom two waves (the blue and green waves). Unfortunately, I am not far enough in my education ...
5
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2answers
185 views

Poisson like distribution in $\left(\sum_{k=0}^{n-1} x^{2^k}\right)^{n}$?

Given $y_{n}(x)=\left(\sum_{k=0}^{n-1} x^{2^k}\right)^{n}$. An example ($n=5$) may look like $$ y_5(x)={x^{80}}+5 x^{72}+5 x^{68}+5 x^{66}+5 x^{65}+10 x^{64}+20 x^{60}+20 x^{58}+20 x^{57}+20 x^{56}+20 ...
5
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1answer
240 views

Simple 2D Voronoi Diagram Question with 3 Points

This is a HW question for the course MAT480 (Mathematical Modelling I) at Athabasca University. I'm taking this distance course for credit in order to graduate sooner. Having a hard time putting all ...
5
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2answers
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Applications (“in everyday life”) of graph theory

EDIT another idea someone gave me was to consider flows in a network that would not only depend on the node at the beginning and at the end of a vertice but also about the vertice itself, like a ...
5
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1answer
196 views

Efficient free alternative to *Mathematica*

I am searching for a free alternative to Mathematica. By efficient, I mean that it should have every (or at least almost every) function that you can find in Mathematica, including for example Number ...
5
votes
1answer
132 views

At what point discrepancy, in the NBA, does it make sense to milk the shot clock?

I am admittedly not great with probabilities, so I am soliciting the help of the community. I am watching game 3 of the NBA Finals and I am trying to work out when it makes sense to milk the shot ...
5
votes
1answer
744 views

How did Target figure out a teen girl was pregnant before her father did?

First of all I do not have a mathematics degree only a B.S. in finance so please take that into account when writing an answer. Generally what type of mathematics is involved here? And specifically ...
5
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0answers
271 views

What differential equation might model this almost-harmonic oscillator?

I need to precisely control the motion of a damped, driven (nearly) harmonic oscillator: $$ \ddot x(t) + \alpha\dot x(t) + \omega_0^2 x(t) \approx V(t) $$ I use the $\approx$ symbol because this is ...
5
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1answer
228 views

Looking for a Lyapunov function for the next system

I am really stuck looking for a Lypaunov candidate for the next system (which in simulation is stable). $$ \dot{x} = -(A+A^T)x + Ay \\ \dot{y} = K(x-y) $$ where x and y are vectors in R^3, A is a ...
4
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1answer
133 views

Why is “$\pi^2= g $” where $g$ is the gravitational constant?

Some months ago a professor of mine showed us a 'proof' of why $g\approx 9.8 ~\text{m}/\text{s}^2$ (the gravitational acceleration at the surface of the Earth) is 'equal' to $\pi^2\approx9.86\dots$ ...
4
votes
2answers
736 views

Recommended book on modeling/differential equations

I am soon attending a undergrad course named differential equations and modeling. I have dealt with differential equations before, but in that course just learned a bunch of methods for solving them. ...
4
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1answer
95 views

A question in application of derivatives and vectors

Consider a skier who is sliding without friction on the hill ${y = h(x)}$ in a two dimensional world. The skier is subject to two forces. One is gravity. The other acts perpendicularly to the hill. ...
4
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2answers
903 views

Biology: Wright-Fisher model of genetic drift

In evolutionary biology (in population genetics to be more accurate) exists the concept of genetic drift. It describes how an allele (gene variant) (that has no advantage or disadvantage in terms of ...
4
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2answers
290 views

Stochastic predator-prey

My system is a simple $P$ vs $I$ foxes- vs rabbits model given by: $$ \begin{cases} \frac{\mathrm{d}I}{\mathrm{d}t}=& \alpha_I+\lambda_IP- \gamma_II -\delta_IPI;\\ \frac{\mathrm{d}P}{\mathrm{d}t}=&...
4
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3answers
272 views

Mathematical (or physical) formulation of life

I recently started to have interest in the characteristics of life. Especially, I wonder if there are some kind of mathematical description of the true meaning of life and how it is emerged. Why does ...
4
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2answers
115 views

How do you formulate a vague notion into a mathematical expression?

I am a software engineer wanting to learn math. I also do a little bit of drawing. What I am wondering is, how do you formulate a vague notion of something you're trying to model into a mathematical ...
4
votes
2answers
549 views

Converting if else constraints into linear ones

I have the following two constraints: $$ x_1 \leq x_2 \leq x_3 \qquad \mbox{if } x_1 \leq x_3 \\ x_1 > x_2 > x_3 \qquad \mbox{otherwise} $$ Is there a way to get rid of the two conditions and ...
4
votes
1answer
269 views

Finding the jacobian of a differential system with a piecewise function

My system: $$\frac{\mathrm{dx} }{\mathrm{d} t}=-ax^2+y^2-\gamma z$$ $$\frac{\mathrm{dy} }{\mathrm{d} t}=- h(y)-\beta y $$ $$\frac{\mathrm{dz} }{\mathrm{d} t}=x+h(y)-\beta z $$ where $h$ is the ...
4
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1answer
319 views

Water Systems: When can I use buckets of water to simulate an ODE.

It is quite common to use physical systems to perform calculations (see here and here). This is for a number of reasons: sometimes the physical system is efficient, sometimes it helps us understand ...
4
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1answer
597 views

Automation of 3D Paper Modeling

I recently saw this creative paper contraption online this prior weekend and wanted to see if I could automate the process of creating all ~35 layers of an equation. Essentially what I would want the ...
4
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0answers
43 views

How to generate a function with multiple variables to fit experimental data?

I am researching methods to increase the accuracy of an algorithm that is currently used to analyse radiation patterns as they hit our sensor. (For the non-physicists, we will mainly see Alphas, ...
4
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1answer
238 views

Analytical Models for Hysteresis of Complicated Systems

I’ve been working with a system that exhibits hysteresis and I’ve found that the more common models do not work for me. I am wondering if anyone is aware of other models that might be out there for ...
4
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0answers
591 views

Why does my Barabasi Albert model implementation doesn't produce a scale free network

I'm trying to implement the Barabasi Albert model to generate some scale free network matching a power law distribution of degree. I'm using a value $m = 2$ for the main parameter of the algorithm, ...
4
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1answer
44 views

Regression model for a shearing process

30 Widgets are randomly assigned to a shearing process. There are 3 such processes, each getting 10 widgets. The lengths of each widget are recorded before undergoing the shearing. The amount that ...
4
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0answers
5k views

Mathematical Modeling of Real-World Situations [closed]

I was considering how to model the following problem mathematically and was wondering what you thought the best way to do it is. "A takes 1 minute to cross a bridge, B takes 2 minutes, C takes 5 ...
4
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1answer
429 views

Conditional Expectation and the floor function

I have a piece of code the produces random integers. ...
4
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1answer
357 views

Can we rotate a 3D lattice of deformed spheres?

EDIT by EricStucky: The full text of original post below for reference, but I have talked with the OP in chat and believe that this is the mathematical core of the question. Suppose that we have ...