4-4 Modeling and Optimization

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AP Calculus AB
4-4 Modeling and Optimization

Name_________________________________
I can solve application problems involving optimization
One of the classic application of differential calculus are optimization problems (also known as
max-min problems). Technically, the calculus is fairly straightforward – find a function that
models the problem and then use derivatives (or a calculator) to find the maximum or minimum
(whichever is appropriate) of the problem. A more specific strategy (from your text) follows:
1.
Determine whether it is a maximum or minimum problem.
2.
Determine what has to be maximized or minimized.
3.
Select variables to represent unknowns & write the equation of a function to represent
the problem.
4.
Use the first derivative of the function to find the critical points. INCLUDE ENDPOINTS!
5.
Justify why your solution is the maximum or a minimum.
6.
Use the critical point(s) to answer the question.
Your textbook has a similar strategy on page 219. Look over their steps also and use the set of
steps that helps you understand the process.
A note about the AP Exam – From my understanding, if the equations/models are complicated
to figure out then they will be given to you (since the purpose of the exam is to test your
knowledge of calculus). However, as you have seen with some of the expected algebra, what the
test writers consider complicated and what you consider complicated might not agree . . .
Example 1 – NO CALCULATOR
What is the smallest perimeter possible for a rectangle whose area is 16 in 2 , and what are its
dimensions?
Example 2 – CALCULATOR ACTIVE
A rectangle is to be inscribed under one arch of the sine curve (see below). What is the largest
area the rectangle can have, and what dimensions give it that area?
y
x
Practice - Show your work on the back and/or a separate sheet of paper. NO CALCULATOR!
1.
The square of a number is to be added to twice the number. What number will give the smallest sum?
2.
Find two numbers whose difference is 10 and whose product is the minimum possible.
3.
Cutting equal squares out of the corners of a piece of cardboard 15” by 8” and folding up the flaps
makes a box. Find the dimensions of the box which will have maximum volume.
4.
You have been asked to design a one-liter (1000 cm3) oil can shaped like a right, circular cylinder.
What dimensions will use the least material? [use a calculator ONLY for computations].
One way that optimization problems (and hence calculus) make a contribution to business is through
economic theory. Suppose that:
r  x   the revenue from selling x items
c  x   the cost ofproducing the x items
p  x   r  x   c  x   the profit from selling x items
The marginal cost of production is the rate of change of the cost with respect to the level of production, so it
is dc / dx . The marginal cost is loosely defined to be the extra cost of producing one more unit. More
specifically,
dr
 marginal revenue
dx
dc
 marginal cost
dx
dp
 marginal profit
dx
All can be loosely defined as the extra revenue/cost/profit of producing one more unit.
Economic Theory:
Maximum profit occurs when marginal cost equals marginal revenue.
5.
Suppose that r  x   9 x and c  x   x3  11x2  33x , where x represents thousands of units. Is there a
production level that maximizes profit? If so, what?
Another way to look for optimal production levels is to look for levels that minimize the average cost of the
units produced. There is an actual theorem that states this fact:
Economic Theory:
6.
 c  x 
The production level (if any) at which average cost 
 is smallest is a level at
x


dc
 
which the average cost equals the marginal cost   .
 dx 
Suppose c  x   x3  6 x 2  15x , where x represents thousands of units. Is there a production level
that minimizes average cost? If so, what is it?
In your textbook on page 226, complete problems 1b
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