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What is Calculus

Calculus is the mathematical enquiry into change.  

The effectiveness of calculus to identify solutions to a complex but continuous issue lies in its ability to chop up the issue into limitlessly simpler parts, find solutions to them separately, and subsequently rebuild them into the original whole. This technique can be leveraged to research all continuous elements that can be chopped up in this fashion, be it the curvatures of geometric shapes, in addition to the trajectory of an object in flight, or a time interval. 

In this guide by AICoreSpot, you will find out about the origins of Calculus and its applications and uses. 

After going through this guide, you will be aware of: 

  • What is calculus? 
  • How can calculus be applied to the actual world? 

Tutorial Summarization 

This tutorial is subdivided into three portions, which are: 

1] Calculus 

2] Applications of Calculus 


Calculus is a latin word that means stone, or pebble. 

The leveraging of this word has found its way into mathematics from the ancient practice of leveraging little stones to execute calculations, like addition and multiplication. While the leveraging of this word has, with the passage of time, disappeared from the title of several strategies of calculation, one critical branch of mathematics retained it to an extent that we now call it the Calculus. 

Calculus, like other variants of mathematics, is a lot more than a mere language, it’s also a really capable system of reasoning. 

Calculus traces its origins back to geometry. 

At the beginning, geometry was predominantly worried with straight lines, planes and angles, reflecting its utilitarian origins in the construction of ramps and pyramids, amongst other use cases. Nevertheless, geometers found themselves tool-less for the research of circles spheres, cylinders, and cones. The surface areas and volumes of these curve shapes was identified to be a lot more tough to undertake analysis of than rectilinear shapes constructed of straight lines and flat planes. Regardless of its reputation for being too complex, the technique of calculus grew from a mission for simplicity, by breaking down complex problems into the sum of its parts. 

At around 250BC in Ancient Greece, it was a popular little mathematical startup dedicated to the mystery of curves. 

In order to do so, Calculus was concerned with the controlled leveraging of infinity as the bridge amongst the curved and the straight. 

The infinity principle – To illuminate any continuous shape, object, motion, process, or phenomenon – regardless of how wild and complex it may seem – reimagine it as an infinite series of lesser parts, undertake analysis of those, and then add the outcomes back together to make sense of the original cumulative whole. 

To understand this concept in a better fashion, visualize yourself traversing on a spaceship to the moon. As you look outwards to the moon from the earth, it’s outline appears remarkably curved. However as you get closer and lesser parts of the outline begin filling up the viewing port, the curvature eases and becomes less defined. Ultimately, the amount of curvature turns so minimal that the infinitesimally small parts of the outline seem as a straight line. If we had to slice the circle shape of the moon along these infinitesimally minimal parts of its outline, and then arrange the infinitely small slices into a rectangle, then we would be capable to calculate its area through multiplication of its width to its height. 

This is the basis of calculus. The revolutionary breakthrough that if one observes a curved shape via a microscope, the region of its curvature being zoomed into will appear straight and flat. Therefore, undertaking analysis of a curved shape is, in principle, made possible by putting together its many straight pieces. 

Calculus, can, thus, be thought of to compose of two phases: cutting and rebuilding. 

In mathematical terminology, the cutting procedure always consists of infinitely fine subtraction, which is leveraged to quantify the differences amongst the parts. Accordingly, this half of the subject is referred to as differential calculus. The reassembly procedure always consists of infinite addition, which goes about integrating the parts back into the original cumulative whole. This half of the subject is referred to as integral calculus. 

Keeping this in mind, let us go back to our simplistic instance: 

Assume that we have sliced the circular shape of the moon into smaller bits, and rearranged the pieces alongside one another. 

The shape that we have formed is similar to a rectangle possessing a width equivalent to half the circle circumference, C/2 and a height equal to the circle radius, r.  

To flatten out the curvature even more, we can slice the circle into thinner pieces.

The thinner the slices, the more the curvature flattens out till we attain the limit of infinitely several slices, where the shape is now ideally rectangular.

We have taken out the slices from the circular shape, and rearranging them into a rectangle does not alter their area. Therefore, calculation of the area of the circle is equivalent to calculating the region of the outcome rectangle A = rC/2

Curves are not just a trait of geometric shapes, but also appear in nature in the form of parabolic arcs tracked by projectiles, or the elliptical orbits of planets around the sun.

And so started the second great obsession: a pre-occupation with the mysteries of motion on Earth and within the solar system.

And with curves and motion, the next natural query is concerned with the pace of change.

With the mysteries of curves and motion now settled, calculus shifted on to its third lifelong obsession: the mystery of change.

It is via the application of the Infinity Principle that calculus enables us to research motion and change as well, through approximation of these into several infinitesimal steps.

It is for this purpose that calculus has come to be viewed the language of the universe.

Applications of Calculus

Calculus has been applied in several domains, from Newton’s application in finding solutions to issues of mathematical physics, to the more latest application of Newton’s concepts in the research conducted at NASA by mathematician, Katherine Johnson, and her staff members.

In the 1860s, James Clerk Maxwell leveraged calculus to recast the experimental laws of electricity and magnetism, ultimately forecasting not just the existence of electromagnetic waves, but also unveiling the nature of light as an electromagnetic wave. On the basis of his research, Nikola Tesla developed the first radio communications system. Guglielmo Marconi transmitted the starting wireless messages, and ultimately several modern-day devices, like the television and the smartphone, came into existence.

Albert Einstein, in 1917, also leveraged calculus to a model of atomic transitions. In order to forecast the influence of simulated emission. His research later led to the first working lasers in the 1960s, which have since that time been leveraged in several differing devices, like compact-disc players and barcode scanners.

With no calculus, we wouldn’t possess cell phones, computers, or microwave ovens, we wouldn’t have radio with us. Or TV. Or ultrasound for pregnant mothers, or GPS for lost travellers. We wouldn’t have been capable of splitting the atom, unravelled the human genome, or put astronauts on the moon. We might not even possess the Declaration of Independence.

More fascinatingly is the critical part of calculus within machine learning. It underlies critical algorithms, like gradient descent, which needs the computation of the gradient of a function and is often critical to go about training machine learning models. This makes calculus one of the basic mathematical utilities within machine learning.


In this guide, you found out about the origins of calculus and its applications.

Particularly, you learned

  • That calculus is the mathematical research of change that its basis on a cutting and rebuilding technique
  • That calculus has facilitated several discoveries and the development of several modern-day devices as we know them, as is also a basic mathematical utility within machine learning.
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