Gauss' principle of least constraint
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Gauss' principle of least constraint[′gau̇s ′prin·sə·pəl əv ¦lēst kən′strānt]
The principle that the motion of a system of interconnected material points subjected to any influence is such as to minimize the constraint on the system; here the constraint, during an infinitesimal period of time, is the sum over the points of the product of the mass of the point times the square of its deviation from the position it would have occupied at the end of the time period if it had not been connected to other points.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.