Insight into the fractional calculus via a spreadsheet

Miller, David & Sugden, Stephen J. (2009) Insight into the fractional calculus via a spreadsheet. Spreadsheets in Education, 3(2), pp. 1-15.

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Abstract

Many students of calculus are not aware that the calculus they have learned is a special case (integer order) of fractional calculus. Fractional calculus is the study of arbitrary order derivatives and integrals and their applications. The article begins by stating a naive question from a student in a paper by Larson (1974) and establishes, for polynomials and exponential functions, that they can be deformed into their derivative using the μ-th order fractional derivatives for 0<μ<1. Through the power of Excel we illustrate the continuous deformations dynamically through conditional formatting. Some applications are discussed and a connection made to mathematics education.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 73185
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Spreadsheet, Fractional Calculus, Mathematics Education
ISSN: 1448-6156
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Mathematical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Deposited On: 01 Jul 2014 23:14
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2014 23:30

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