This chapter is an overview of the sorts of problems that can be addressed using the methods from this book. It also discusses the major differences between mathematical modeling and mathematics, and reviews some basic terminology that is used throughout the book. The appendix provides a much more in-depth review of engineering mathematics. This book is meant to be self-contained in the sense that only prior knowledge of college-level calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations is assumed. Therefore, if it is read sequentially and something does not make sense, then the appendix most likely contains the missing piece of knowledge. Standard references on classical mathematics used in engineering and physics include [2, 5], which also can be consulted to fill in any missing background.
Even after consulting the appendix and the cited references, some of the concepts presented toward the end of each chapter may be difficult to grasp on the first reading. That is okay. To a large extent, it should be possible to skip over some of the more difficult concepts in any given chapter, and still understand the fundamental ideas in subsequent chapters. In order to focus the reader on the most important ideas in each chapter, the equations that are necessary to successfully navigate through later chapters are circumscribed with a box. This also makes it easier to refer back to key equations.
KeywordsEquivalence Class Control Volume Commutative Diagram Divergence Theorem Probability Flow
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