# Overdetermined system

## More equations than unknowns (mathematics) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In mathematics, a system of equations is considered **overdetermined** if there are more equations than unknowns.^{[1]}^{[citation needed]} An overdetermined system is almost always inconsistent (it has no solution) when constructed with random coefficients. However, an overdetermined system will have solutions in some cases, for example if some equation occurs several times in the system, or if some equations are linear combinations of the others.

The terminology can be described in terms of the concept of constraint counting. Each unknown can be seen as an available degree of freedom. Each equation introduced into the system can be viewed as a constraint that restricts one degree of freedom.
Therefore, the critical case occurs when the number of equations and the number of free variables are equal. For every variable giving a degree of freedom, there exists a corresponding constraint. The *overdetermined* case occurs when the system has been overconstrained ā that is, when the equations outnumber the unknowns. In contrast, the *underdetermined* case occurs when the system has been underconstrained ā that is, when the number of equations is fewer than the number of unknowns. Such systems usually have an infinite number of solutions.