This thesis discusses two topics, finding the extreme points of the Vandermonde determinant on various surfaces and phenomenological modelling using power-exponential functions. The relation between these two problems is that they are both related to methods for curve-fitting. Two applications of the mathematical models and methods are also discussed, modelling of electrostatic discharge currents for use in electromagnetic compatibility and modelling of mortality rates for humans. Both the construction and evaluation of models is discussed.

In the first chapter the basic theory for later chapters is introduced. First the Vandermonde matrix, a matrix whose rows (or columns) consists of monomials of sequential powers, its history and some of its properties are discussed. Next, some considerations and typical methods for a common class of curve fitting problems are presented, as well as how to analyse and evaluate the resulting fit. In preparation for the later parts of the thesis the topics of electromagnetic compatibility and mortality rate modelling are briefly introduced.

The second chapter discusses some techniques for finding the extreme points for the determinant of the Vandermonde matrix on various surfaces including spheres, ellipsoids and cylinders. The discussion focuses on low dimensions, but some results are given for arbitrary (finite) dimensions.

In the third chapter a particular model called the *p*-peaked Analytically Extended Function (AEF) is introduced and fitted to data taken either from a standard for electromagnetic compatibility or experimental measurements. The discussion here is entirely focused on currents originating from lightning or electrostatic discharges.

The fourth chapter consists of a comparison of several different methods for modelling mortality rates, including a model constructed in a similar way to the AEF found in the third chapter. The models are compared with respect to how well they can be fitted to estimated mortality rate for several countries and several years and the results when using the fitted models for mortality rate forecasting is also compared.