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Approximation theory

Approximation theory is concerned with approximating functions of a given class using functions from another, usually more elementary, class. A simple example is the problem of approximating a function such as ex by means of polynomial functions. The efficient solution of such problems is of great importance for computing, and this module will introduce the mathematical theory behind many approximation methods in common use. This intermediate-level module is based on the set book Approximation Theory and Methods by M. J. D. Powell.

Qualifications

M832 is an optional module in our:

This module can also count towards M03, which is no longer available to new students.

Postgraduate Loans

If you study this module as part of an eligible qualification, you may be eligible for a Postgraduate Loan. For more information, see Fees and funding.

Module

Module code
M832
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
30
Study level

Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.

OU Postgraduate
SCQF 11
FHEQ 7
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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What you will study

The subject of approximation theory lies at the frontier between applied mathematics and pure mathematics. Practical problems, such as the computer calculation of special functions like ex, lead naturally to theoretical problems, such as ‘how well can we approximate by a given method?’ or ‘how fast does a given algorithm converge?’.

The module is based on Approximation Theory and Methods by M. J. D. Powell (Cambridge University Press, 1981). This book provides an excellent introduction to these theoretical problems, covering the basic theory of a wide range of approximation methods

You will learn

Successful study of this module should enhance your skills in understanding complex mathematical texts, constructing solutions to problems logically and communicating mathematical ideas clearly.

Note you must study this module if you wish to take the 'Advances in approximation theory' topic for your Dissertation in mathematics (M840).

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online using eTMA system, unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

Course work includes

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination
No residential school

Course satisfaction survey

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Future availability

Approximation theory (M832) starts every other year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2022.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Essential Documents website.

    Entry requirements

    To study this module you must declare the MSc in Mathematics (or another qualification towards which the module can count) as your qualification intention.

    Normally, you should have also completed at least one of the entry modules for the MSc in Mathematics (F04), Calculus of variations and advanced calculus (M820) or Analytic number theory I (M823).

    The subject of approximation theory lies at the frontier between applied mathematics and pure mathematics, since practical problems such as how to calculate special functions on a computer lead to theoretical problems such as 'which approximation method is best?'. Therefore you will need some familiarity with real analysis and linear algebra, such as that developed in typical undergraduate courses, and knowing the basic properties of metric spaces would also be useful.

    All teaching is in English and your proficiency in the English language should be adequate for the level of study you wish to take. We strongly recommend that students have achieved an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of at least 7. To assess your English language skills in relation to your proposed studies you can visit the IELTS website.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    Register

    Start End England fee Register
    06 Oct 2018 Jun 2019 £1020.00

    Registration closes 16/08/18 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2022.

    Future availability

    Approximation theory (M832) starts every other year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2022.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    Study weekend

    This module normally includes an optional study weekend. For each day you choose to attend, you must pay an additional charge of around £50 to cover tuition and refreshments during the day. You’ll pay this charge when you book, after you’ve registered on the module. You’ll also have to pay for your own travel to and from the venues and your own accommodation if you need it.

    Ways to pay

    We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

    That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options. To find out more see Fees and funding.

    Study materials

    What's included

    Module texts, other printed materials.

    You will need

    A scientific calculator.

    We recommend that you have access to the internet at least once a week during the module and would like to point out that vital material, such as your assignments, will be delivered online.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module.  Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • macOS 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones. 

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students. 

    Materials to buy

    Set books

    • Powell, M.J.D. Approximation Theory and Methods Cambridge University Press £55.99 - ISBN 9780521295147 This book is Print on Demand and can be ordered through any bookseller. Please allow at least 2 weeks for receipt following order.

    If you have a disability

    The material contains small print and diagrams, which may cause problems if you find reading text difficult. You will also need to be able to use a scientific calculator.

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.