Interpolation  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

In the mathematical field of numerical analysis, interpolation is a type of estimation, a method of constructing new data points within the range of a discrete set of known data points.

In engineering and science, one often has a number of data points, obtained by sampling or experimentation, which represent the values of a function for a limited number of values of the independent variable. It is often required to interpolate, i.e., estimate the value of that function for an intermediate value of the independent variable.

A closely related problem is the approximation of a complicated function by a simple function. Suppose the formula for some given function is known, but too complicated to evaluate efficiently. A few data points from the original function can be interpolated to produce a simpler function which is still fairly close to the original. The resulting gain in simplicity may outweigh the loss from interpolation error.


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Interpolation" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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