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December 15th, 2014, 10:15 AM   #1
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Mathematical physicist doesn't like numerical methods...

Hello all,

I wasn't sure whether to post this in real or complex analysis so feel free to move this.

I was watching lectures on perturbation theory by Carl Bender () and he says (starting at around 3:50) that he doesn't trust most numerical methods and I was wondering why. I don't see any problem with numerical methods but the problem he uses perturbation theory to get an approximate answer can be solved exactly so I am doubting his word at the minute...

I was wondering if you could shed some light on what his problem is with most numerical methods that I'm not aware of.

Thanks!
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December 15th, 2014, 11:24 AM   #2
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I can't speak for his problems in particular, but there's a whole field called numerical analysis that deals with the difficulties of numerical methods and the errors that can result.
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December 15th, 2014, 03:29 PM   #3
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I'm familiar, I am just not aware of anything that is wrong with "most" of them. There is always an issue with approximations but I don't know anything wrong with them as a concept (at least not one that isn't present in this perturbation theory).
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December 15th, 2014, 03:35 PM   #4
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I would expect perturbation theory to be especially sensitive to numerical analysis issues, so I'm not exactly surprised to hear the quote. But I can't do more than guess as to his true meaning.
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