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Utilizing MS EXCEL

in Solving
Simultaneous Equations
Review: Linear Equations in Matrix Form

The first step in using matrix methods to

solve a series of linear simultaneous
equations is to write them in matrix form
For n simultaneous equations and n

where A is the coefficient matrix (n n); X is the

matrix of unknowns (n 1), and C is the constant
matrix (n 1)
Review: Linear Simultaneous Equations

Recall that if there are more unknowns

then equations, then we cannot find a
unique solution
If there are more equations than
unknowns, then some equations must be
If there are exactly the same number of
equations and unknowns, then there may
be a unique solution. In this case the
coefficient matrix will be square
Solution of System of Linear

We can find the unknown variables by

multiplying the inverse of the coefficient
matrix by the constant matrix
Summary Linear Equations

If the inverse of the coefficient matrix

exists, then there is a solution, and that
solution is unique
If the inverse does not exist, then there
are two possibilities:
The equations are incompatible, and so there
are no solutions, or
At least two of the equations are redundant,
and so there are more unknowns than unique
equations. Therefore, there are an infinite
number of solutions
Non-Linear Equations

If any of the equations are non-linear, then

the matrix method will not work
Example: Consider these two equations:

The x2 term in the first equation prevents

the use of a matrix solution
Excel Solver

Solver is an Excel Add-In that can find

solutions to many problems with multiple
independent variables
The first step is to check that Solver is
If so, it will appear in the Data group of the
Installing Solver

If Solver is not
present on the ribbon,
start by clicking the
Office Button

And selecting Excel

Installing Solver

Choose Add-Ins

And click Go
beside Excel Add-
Installing Solver

Check Solver and click OK

If Solver has not been installed, click Yes to

install it now
Using Solver

Solver attempts to set the value of a

target cell to its minimum, its maximum,
or a specific value,
By changing one or more input cells
(independent variables,
While maintaining specified constraints
Solver Example

Consider this equation:

Use Solver to find values of x for which

y is minimized
y is equal to exactly 50
y is maximized, within limits of x from 0 to 10
Solver Example

To better understand this problem,

consider this plot of y vs. x:

On your own,
create the plot
as shown here
Solver Example

Label a cell for the independent variable x

and enter the formula for y in another cell:
Solver Example

Start Solver. For the first part of the

problem we want to minimize y (Target
Cell C4) by changing x (cell C2):
Solver Example

Start Solver. For the first part of the

problem we want to minimize y (Target
Cell C4) by changing x (cell C2):
Solver Example

The answer is that when x = 2, y = 16, the

minimum value of y that is possible:
Solver Example

Next, find the value of x for which y = 80:

Solver Example

But we can see from the

graph that there are
two solutions to the
This is typical for non-
linear problems;
multiple solutions are
The solution found often
depend on the initial
guess entered before
running Solver
Solver Example

Try x = -10 as the initial guess and run

Solver again:
Solver Example

Now try to maximize y:

Solver Example

Since the value of y increase to infinity for

both increasing and decreasing values of x,
there are no maxima values to be found
However, we can constrain the problem by
requiring the input value of x to be between
0 and 10:
Solver Example

Allowable x-
Solver Example

We find that when x = 10, y = 80. This is

the maximum value that y can have,
subject to the constraints on x.
Solver Example

However, even this

solution is affected
by the initial guess.
For example, if we
try x = -10 as the
initial value:

Then we get a
different solution,
although the value
of y is clearly not
Solver Example

It is important to realize that Solver finds

local maximum and minimum values

Simultaneous Equation
Back to our earlier example - consider
these two equations:

Can we find values of x and y that satisfy

both equations?
Simultaneous Equation
With non-linear simultaneous equations, the first
step is to write the equations with all of the
variables and constants on the same side of the
equal sign
We give the resulting expressions variable
names (f1 and f2 here):

When both f1 and f2 are zero, then the equations

are satisfied
Simultaneous Equation
Start by labeling two cells for the input
variables (x and y)
Label two cells for f1 and f2, and enter their
Simultaneous Equation
Remember that Solver must have a single
target cell: we cannot specify that both f1 and f2
are to be zero
We could specify that the sum of f1 and f2 be
zero; however, this would not guarantee that
both are zero as one could be positive and the
other negative
If we square both values, then both these
values must be greater than or equal to zero
If the sum of the squares equals zero, then both
f1 and f2 must be zero
Simultaneous Equation
Add cells for the squares and their sum.
The sum (cell E7) will be the Target Cell in
the Solver setup:
Simultaneous Equation
Simultaneous Equation
Solver has found
a solution: x is
about -1 and y
is about 0
Simultaneous Equation
These are the exact values for the
Simultaneous Equation
Try different guess values of x and y:
Simultaneous Equation
A second solution if found: x = 1.5 and y =
Simultaneous Equation
A graphical solution is possible with two
equations. Notice that the curves
intersect in two places
Simultaneous Equation
Zooming in, we can see the solutions that
we found with Solver
Simultaneous Equation
Now try these equations (only the second
is changed)
Simultaneous Equation
In this case, no solution can be found
Simultaneous Equation
Graphing the equations shows that they
do not intersect

Excel Solver can be used to numerically

find maxima, minima, and specific values
of a target cell by varying one or more
input cells, with or without additional
Solver can also find solutions of
simultaneous non-linear equations
Important to recognize that multiple
solutions may exist for non-linear