What is Mathematical Modeling?

Prepared by:

Joseph Malkevitch
Department of Mathematics and Computer Studies
York College (CUNY)
Jamaica, New York



web page:


1. What associations do you have with the word "model?"

2. Give examples of phrases where the word "model" appears? For example, the word model appears in the phrases "model airplane" and "role model."

3. a. What is a mathematical model?

b. Are physical models mathematical models?

4. What is mathematical modeling?

5. Is modeling done in subjects other than mathematics?

6. The following diagram, or a variant of it, is sometimes used to help get across the basic ideas of the modeling process.

Comment on your interpretation, usefulness, and significance of each step in this process.

If the interpretation of the solution in the real world is not insightful, then one wants to change the amount of simplification and/or assumptions used to construct a different model so that when the process is repeated, useful insights are obtained.