Dynamic programming and the variational principles of classical and statistical mechanics.

by Robert E. Kalaba

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A new approach to problems in the calculus of variations through the functional equation technique of dynamic programming. This paper explores some of the applications of these techniques in the analysis of dynamic processes (characterized by the principle of least action) and static processes (characterized by the principle of minimal potential energy). Since optimal processes involving stochastic elements are amenable to such treatment, the determination of most likely trajectories through phase space is also discussed.

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