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# 7.1 Modeling Situations with Differential Equations

Zaina Siddiqi

279Β resources
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### Differential Equation Prerequisites

First, let's talk about functions. In math, a function is like a rule that takes an input (let's call it "x") and gives you an output (let's call it "y"). For example, you might have a function that doubles any number you put in: f(x) = 2x. If you put in 3, the function will give you 6 as the output.
Now, let's move on to derivatives. The derivative of a function measures how fast the function is changing at any given point. It tells you the rate of change or the slope of the function's graph. For example, if you have a function f(x) = x^2 (a parabola), the derivative tells you how steep the curve is at each point.

## What are differential equations?

So, how do differential equations fit into all of this? Well, they describe the relationship between a function and its derivatives. Instead of just knowing the function itself, we want to know how it changes with respect to the independent variable (usually denoted as "x").
A differential equation tells us something about the derivatives of a function. It might look something like this:
dy/dx = 2x
In this equation, "dy/dx" represents the derivative of the function "y" with respect to "x". The equation is saying that the rate of change of "y" with respect to "x" is equal to 2 times "x".

### Why differential equations?

By solving this differential equation, we're essentially finding a function that satisfies the equation. We want to find the function "y(x)" that, when you take its derivative with respect to "x", gives you 2 times "x". Solving the equation helps us understand the behavior of the function and how it changes with respect to "x".
Differential equations have many real-world applications. They can be used to model the behavior of physical systems, like the motion of objects or the flow of fluids. They can also describe natural phenomena, such as the growth of populations or the spread of diseases. By understanding the relationship between a function and its derivatives, we can gain insights into these processes and make predictions about how they will evolve over time.
In summary, differential equations are equations that relate functions to their derivatives. They help us understand how functions change with respect to an independent variable. By solving these equations, we can gain insights into real-world phenomena and make predictions about their behavior.
Information sourced from CED. Written with the help of ChatGPT.
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