By means of a simple example, a stretched string under transverse load, finite element and finite difference methods which are so widely used in engineering are illustrated. The finite element method is shown to be an essentially modified Raleigh-Ritz procedure. The finite difference technique is applied directly to the string differential equation; an energy related approach is also discussed. The manner in which a combination finite element/finite difference solution can be effected for the same physical problem is treated. Application of both the finite element and finite difference methods to more complex problems as well as selected programs and depositories are mentioned.

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