Online TA Help
To facilitate your learning of the subject material for this course, this page has been set up to allow you to ask the professor questions about the readings, lectures, discussions, or other appropriate topics. Your questions and their answers will be posted (anonymously) here, so that all students may benefit from the answer, since it is likely that several people are wondering about the same thing.
Before sending in your question, be sure to re-read the appropriate textbook section, re-visit the corresponding lecture notes, and consider any relevant handouts. Please take the time to carefully phrase your question so that it may be properly answered. The more specific and well-phrased the question is, the more direct and useful the answer will be to yourself and your classmates.
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Questions and Answers
Q: I'm working on tutorial 5, and I wanted to check with you about my decision for how to quantify the HSCs from the provided habitat data. I used 4th-5th order polynomial equations on the rising and falling segments of each line, with eight decimal places. The results I got for the DHSI and VHSI values overshot 1 by a small margin, peaking at about 1.015. I am wondering if this is an acceptable level of error (since it doesn't necessarily exceed 1.0 if I use two significant digits), or if you recommend I instead use the stepwise functions route.
A: We went through this very issue a lot from 2000-2004. Eventually, we came to the conclusion that it is pretty dangerous to risk using polynomials without being very careful about their range. Also, if it does overshoot, then forcing the value to 1.0. This is why we switched to piecewise linear and piecewise polynomial. The more you can constrict the range over which you have to do that, the better.