The World Record for the Mile Run

The table below shows the world record times for the one mile run for the years 1865 - 1999.

Click here to open a new window with a live graph showing the data from this table. This graph also displays the linear function:

record = m * (year - 1860) + b

Notice this is a somewhat different form than the usual form for linear functions. The parameter m still determines the slope of the function but the parameter b now determines the world record in the year 1860. Use the vertical controls to change the parameters so that the linear function provides a rough description of the data. Based on this work what do you think the world record for the mile run will be in the year 2020? in the year 2040? in the year 2100? in the year 2200? Do you think these predictions are reasonable?

World Records for the Mile Run