Most Annoying Webwork Problem…

28 02 2009

If you’ve ever had to use Webwork, you know how much of a pain it can be. For those who haven’t, it’s an online math homework program ASU likes to make use of (especially lately to save on the cost of paying graders).

On one hand, they usually let you have an unlimited number of attempts to do the problem, so you have no excuse not to get a 100% on the homework. On the other hand, it can sometimes be quite annoying. The most annoying webwork problem I’ve done today,

The temperature at a point (x,y,z) is given by \displaystyle     T(x,y,z) = 200e^{-x^2 -y^2/4 - z^2/9}, where T is measured in degrees celcius and x,y, and z in meters. What is the maximum rate of increase of T at (-1, 1, 2)?

This isn’t a hard to do problem, but the answer is.. well.. I’ll just show it to you.

(400e^(-61/36))^2 / sqrt((400e^(-61/36))^2 + (100e^(-61/36))^2 +(200*4/9*e^(-61/36))^2) + (-100e^(-61/36))^2 / sqrt((400e^(-61/36))^2 + (100e^(-61/36))^2 +(200*4/9*e^(-61/36))^2) + ( -4/9*200e^(-61/36))^2 / sqrt((400e^(-61/36))^2 + (100e^(-61/36))^2 +(200*4/9*e^(-61/36))^2)

Or in prettier form,

webworkprobI had to submit it 3 times just to get it to stop telling me I had mismatching parenthesis… And this was only one part of a 5 part problem, all with similarly long and ugly answers.

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