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Math Help - Having trouble with finding critical points

  1. #1
    Newbie
    Joined
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    9

    Having trouble with finding critical points

    Hi,

    I've just started learning about max & min in two variables. I completely understand the partial derivatives, and how to identify local max/min and saddle points. The only part I don't understand is in the middle, finding the critical points. I know that I'm supposed to set the Partial x and Partial y to zero. But what can I do to find the critical points? I try to solve for one variable in one partial then plug into the second partial to solve for the other. Sometimes, though I check with a graph and my answers don't match. Am I going about this rightly? It seems that I can NEVER find the correct critical points.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Joined
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    410
    You just need to find wherever:
    a) both partial derivatives are equal to zero; or
    b) either partial derivative does not exist.
    Do you maybe have a specific problem with which you'd like some help?
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