Deterministic physical systems under uncertain initial conditions: The case of maximum entropy applied to projectile motion

Alejandra Montecinos, Sergio Davis, Joaquín Peralta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The kinematics and dynamics of deterministic physical systems have been a foundation of our understanding of the world since Galileo and Newton. For real systems, however, uncertainty is largely present via external forces such as friction or lack of precise knowledge about the initial conditions of the system. In this work we focus on the latter case and describe the use of inference methodologies in solving the statistical properties of classical systems subject to uncertain initial conditions. In particular we describe the application of the formalism of maximum entropy (MaxEnt) inference to the problem of projectile motion, given information about the average horizontal range over many realizations. By using MaxEnt we can invert the problem and use the provided information on the average range to reduce the original uncertainty in the initial conditions. Also, additional insight into the initial condition's probabilities, and the projectile path distribution itself, can be achieved based on the value of the average horizontal range. The wide applicability of this procedure, as well as its ease of use, reveals a useful tool with which to revisit a large number of physics problems, from classrooms to frontier research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number045102
JournalEuropean Journal of Physics
Volume39
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2018

Keywords

  • projectile motion
  • maximum entropy
  • inverse problem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Deterministic physical systems under uncertain initial conditions: The case of maximum entropy applied to projectile motion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this