#### Overview of this book

Python, one of the world's most popular programming languages, has a number of powerful packages to help you tackle complex mathematical problems in a simple and efficient way. These core capabilities help programmers pave the way for building exciting applications in various domains, such as machine learning and data science, using knowledge in the computational mathematics domain. The book teaches you how to solve problems faced in a wide variety of mathematical fields, including calculus, probability, statistics and data science, graph theory, optimization, and geometry. You'll start by developing core skills and learning about packages covered in Python’s scientific stack, including NumPy, SciPy, and Matplotlib. As you advance, you'll get to grips with more advanced topics of calculus, probability, and networks (graph theory). After you gain a solid understanding of these topics, you'll discover Python's applications in data science and statistics, forecasting, geometry, and optimization. The final chapters will take you through a collection of miscellaneous problems, including working with specific data formats and accelerating code. By the end of this book, you'll have an arsenal of practical coding solutions that can be used and modified to solve a wide range of practical problems in computational mathematics and data science.
Preface
Basic Packages, Functions, and Concepts
Free Chapter
Mathematical Plotting with Matplotlib
Working with Randomness and Probability
Geometric Problems
Finding Optimal Solutions
Miscellaneous Topics
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# Minimizing a non-linear function

In the previous recipe, we saw how to minimize a very simple linear function. Unfortunately, most functions are not linear and usually don't have nice properties that we would like. For these non-linear functions, we cannot use the fast algorithms that have been developed for linear problems, so we need to devise new methods that can be used in these more general cases. The algorithm that we will use there is called the Nelder-Mead algorthim, which is a robust and general-purpose method that's used to find the minimum value of a function and does not rely on the gradient of the function.

In this recipe, we'll learn how to use the Nelder-Mead simplex method to minimize a non-linear function containing two variables.