Do we have to setup all 3n equations for the n quadratic splines for (n+1) data points?

QUESTION ASKED BY STUDENT: For linear splines, we still find each line individually. In quadratic, we are forced to find every equation at once, correct? Which is where the matrix comes from?

ANSWER: That sounds right, but one can find quadratic equations individually also .
If the first spline is linear, then that spline can be found by the two points it goes through.
Then the second spline goes thru two points, and that gives two equations.  The slope of the second spline is same as the slope of first spline at the common interior point, and the first spline is known. This gives the third eqn.  This process can be repeated for each following spline.


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Author: Autar Kaw

Autar Kaw ( is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of South Florida. He has been at USF since 1987, the same year in which he received his Ph. D. in Engineering Mechanics from Clemson University. He is a recipient of the 2012 U.S. Professor of the Year Award. With major funding from NSF, he is the principal and managing contributor in developing the multiple award-winning online open courseware for an undergraduate course in Numerical Methods. The OpenCourseWare ( annually receives 1,000,000+ page views, 1,000,000+ views of the YouTube audiovisual lectures, and 150,000+ page views at the NumericalMethodsGuy blog. His current research interests include engineering education research methods, adaptive learning, open courseware, massive open online courses, flipped classrooms, and learning strategies. He has written four textbooks and 80 refereed technical papers, and his opinion editorials have appeared in the St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune.

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