12 Optimizing a physical system

This chapter covers

  • Building and visualizing a simulation for a projectile
  • Finding maximal and minimal values for a function using derivatives
  • Tuning simulations with parameters
  • Visualizing spaces of input parameters for simulations
  • Implementing gradient ascent to maximize functions of several variables

For most of the last few chapters, we’ve focused on a physical simulation for a video game. This is a fun and simple example to work with, but there are far more important and lucrative applications. For any big feat of engineering like sending a rocket to Mars, building a bridge, or drilling an oil well, it’s important to know that it’s going to be safe, successful, and on budget before you attempt it. In each ...

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