The difference between numerical and analytical methods simply explained

The difference between numerical and analytical methods in layman’s terms…

Analytical Methods:

Analytical methods involve direct mathematical manipulations to obtain exact solutions to problems. They are formulas or expressions that provide a closed-form solution.

Characteristics:

They provide explicit formulas for calculating prices, values, or other financial metrics.

They are often faster as they don't rely on iterative procedures.

Typically applicable to simpler, well-defined problems.

- Example:

Black-Scholes Model provides an analytical formula to calculate the price of European options.

Pros:
- Quick computations due to direct formulas.
- They offer exact solutions, assuming the model's assumptions hold true.

Cons:
- Model Dependency: They are strictly tied to the assumptions of the underlying model.
- Applicability: Limited to problems where such solutions exist.

Numerical Methods

Numerical methods use numerical approximation to obtain solutions. They are algorithms or computational techniques used when problems cannot be solved analytically.

Characteristics:
- Solutions are approximations, not exact.
- They can be applied to a wide range of problems, including complex and ill-defined ones.

Example:
- Monte Carlo Simulations are used for option pricing, risk management, and other applications where multiple random simulations yield an approximate solution.

Pros:
-Applicable to complex, real-world problems where analytical methods fall short.
- Can be modified and adapted to different problems and scenarios.

Cons:
- Can be computationally intensive, especially for high accuracy.
- Often involve complex algorithms and require more in-depth computational knowledge.

Analytical methods are prized for their speed and precision but are limited by their applicability. Numerical methods, while sometimes more complex and computationally intensive, offer the flexibility to tackle a broader array of real-world, complex financial problems.

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