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A model can be very simple, such as writing total cost as a product of unit price and number bought, or using a geometric shape to describe a physical object like a coin. Even such simple models involve making choices

A model can be very simple, such as writing total cost as a product of unit price and number bought, or using a geometric shape to describe a physical object like a coin. Even such simple models involve making choices. It is up to us whether to model a coin as a three-dimensional cylinder, or whether a two-dimensional disk works well enough for our purposes. Other situations—modeling a delivery route, a production schedule, or a comparison of loan amortizations—need more elaborate models that use other tools from the mathematical sciences.

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