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10 Examples of Approximation

October 18, 2023
written by Rida Mirza

Approximation is a fundamental mathematical concept used to simplify complex calculations and provide reasonable estimates of values.

In this article, we will discuss ten examples of approximation in mathematics.

Examples of Approximation

These are 10 examples of approximation.

1: Rounding Numbers

Rounding numbers is one of the most common forms of approximation.

For example, rounding 3.14159 to 3.14 simplifies calculations while providing a reasonably close value for π (pi).

2: Estimating Square Roots

Estimating square roots is useful when dealing with non-perfect squares.

For example, √7 is approximately 2.65, which is a close approximation.

3: Calculating Percentage Increases

When calculating percentage increases or decreases, approximations are often used.

For example, estimating a 15% increase of $90 as $15 simplifies the calculation to $90 + $15 = $105.

4: Trigonometric Functions

In trigonometry, approximations are common when dealing with angles.

For example, sin(30°) is approximately 0.5, providing a close estimate for simple calculations.

5: Taylor Series Approximations

Taylor series are used to approximate functions.

For example, e^x, sin(x), and cos(x, providing a series of terms that closely approach the actual values.

6: Numerical Integration

In calculus, numerical methods like the trapezoidal rule or Simpson’s rule are used to approximate the definite integral of a function.

7: Linear Approximations

Linear approximations use tangent lines to approximate functions near a specific point.

For example, the linear approximation of √x near x = 4 simplifies to 2 + (x – 4)/4.

8: Exponential Growth Models

In finance and biology, exponential growth models, like the compound interest formula, approximate how values grow over time.

9: Finite Difference Approximations

Finite difference methods are used to approximate derivatives and solve differential equations numerically.

10: Monte Carlo Simulations

Monte Carlo simulations involve using random sampling to approximate complex mathematical models, frequently used in risk analysis, finance, and statistical physics.

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