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Math Help - Optimization help #2

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Joined
    Jan 2009
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    57

    Optimization help #2

    A fence 8 ft tall runs parallel to a tall building at a distance of 4 ft from the building. What is
    the length of the shortest ladder that will reach from the ground over the fence to the wall of the
    building?


    I have set up the picture and understand the question -- can someone just please explain how to solve the problem? (what the equation is, and the process for maximizing/minimizing stuff like this)

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Joined
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    49
    17.88 ft

    i dont know how to optimise - but instead i used a cartesian plane and found that a gradient of 2 yielded the shortest distance for a line that passes through (4,8) which represents the top of the fence.

    hope this type of thinking could help

    im not sure if i am correct so please correct me if i am wrong
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