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Math Help - Basic mathematical models

  1. #1
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    Basic mathematical models

    SO I have a math problem that I forgot how to do.

    I need to develop a mathematical model describing the number of cicadas in a given year.

    Year: | 1953 | 1970 | 1987 | 2004
    Cicadas: | 20 | 38 | 82 | 127
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  2. #2
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    is this too vague? or something or is this not as simple as i thought just for a 1030 class
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by iZac01 View Post
    SO I have a math problem that I forgot how to do.

    I need to develop a mathematical model describing the number of cicadas in a given year.

    Year: | 1953 | 1970 | 1987 | 2004
    Cicadas: | 20 | 38 | 82 | 127
    Plot the points. What model is suggested? Fit the points to that model.
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  4. #4
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    There are many ways to develop such a model. For example, one may try to have a linear function and to minimize the square of error for each year. I did this in OpenOffice Calc using LINEST function and got the following line equation: y = 2.147x - 4181.2. See the graphs here: Basic mathematical models-cicadas.png.

    With more complex models, in fact, any number can be a prediction, say, for 2011. Indeed, given n points (x_i,y_i), i=1,\ldots,n, there exists a Lagrange polynomial f(x) of degree n - 1 such that f(x_i)=y_i for all i=1,\dots,n.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr fantastic View Post
    Plot the points. What model is suggested? Fit the points to that model.
    I honestly have no idea though he gave us a hint ( estimate the doubling time )
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  6. #6
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    I am not sure what "estimate the doubling time" means.
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  7. #7
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    Well, the number of cicadas went from 20 to 38 (which is almost 40) in 17 years, then went from 38 to 82, which just slightly larger than 80 in 17 years, but in the final 17 years only increased by maybe 3/2 rather than doubling.

    Letting N(t) be the number of cicadas t years after 1953 suggests 20(2^{t/17} for the first three data points but the last one does not fit.
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