Index

 

Introduction to Successive Approximations
in Your Spreadsheet

1. Purpose of this website
2. Strategy of successive approximations
3. Equations that you can solve by this method
4. Required skills
4. Required software
5. Next page menu

 

1. Purpose of this website

In this website, I explain how to find real or complex solutions of one or more equations by computing successive approximations in a spreadsheet. I wrote the website mainly for people who need to solve one or more equations of as many variables, and who need a quick-to-learn, easy-to-use method without a lot of theory.

 

2. Strategy of successive approximations

In this website, you'll learn the strategy called "Newton's method," and it involves the following basic steps:

  1. You'll design "approximation functions" using the equations you need to solve.
  2. You'll estimate a reasonable solution of the equations by guessing.
  3. You'll process your estimate with the approximation functions, and produce a better estimate of the solution.
  4. You'll repeat Step 3 until the approximations converge on a solution (this step is often called "recursion").

 

3. Equations that you can solve by this method

You can use this method to solve equations that have the following properties:

 

4. Required skills

You don't need a math degree in order to use successive approximations. In fact, you probably learned most of the necessary math skills in high-school algebra and pre-calculus. If you are solving one equation of one unknown quantity, then these are some skills that you will need:

If you are solving a system of equations, then these are some additional skills you must have:

4. Required software

The spreadsheet you need depends on how many equations you're solving and the type of solutions you want.

 

5. Next page menu

Your choice of the next page appears below; my recommendation is the Procedures page at the top of the menu. This menu also appears in the Index whose link appears at the top of every page in this website.

 

URL: http://members.aceweb.com/patrussell/approximations/introduction.htm
Unpublished Work. © Copyright 2001 Pat Russell. Updated April 17, 2009.


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