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Many optimization problems can be solved without resorting to calculus. This article develops a new variational method for optimization that relies on inequalities. The method is illustrated by four examples, the last of which provides a completely algebraic solution to the problem of minimizing the time it takes a dog to retrieve a thrown ball, demonstrating that dogs don't need calculus.
The College Mathematics Journal is designed to enhance classroom learning and stimulate thinking regarding undergraduate mathematics. CMJ publishes articles, short Classroom Capsules, problems, solutions, media reviews and other pieces. All are aimed at the college mathematics curriculum with emphasis on topics taught in the first two years.