We begin by describing a concrete example from the class of problems to be considered. A continuous bivariate function f defined on the square |t| ≤ 1, |s| ≤ 1 is to be approximated by a tensor-product form involving univariate functions. For example, the approximation may be prescribed to have the form
in which the Ti are the Tchebycheff polynomials, and the coefficient functions xi(t) and yi(s) are to be chosen to achieve a good or best approximation. Will a best approximation exist? If so, how can it be obtained?
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