Est. read time: 1 minute | Last updated: July 17, 2024 by John Gentile



Differential equations are important for fields such as engineering, physics, science and others as they have phenomena that are best described, modeled and solved via differential equations. Ordinary differential equations are differential equations that depend on a single variable. Complex differential equations that are dependent on more than one variable are partial differential equations.

Ordinary Differential Equations (ODEs)

First-Order ODEs

The simplest ODEs are first-order because they involve the first derivative of an unknown function and no higher derivatives; specific differential equations are generally described of order n where the nth derivative of the unknown function is the highest derivative present. These unknown functions represent y(x)y(x) or y(t)y(t) depending on the units in question.

Thus, a first-order ODE takes the explicit form

y=f(x,y)\begin{equation} y{}'=f(x,y) \end{equation}

Equation (1)(1) is.


A function

y=h(x)\begin{equation} y=h(x) \end{equation}

is a solution to an ODE on some

Partial Differential Equations (PDEs)