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Differential Equations vs Linear Algebra

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jwxie
#1
Jun5-10, 12:51 PM
P: 283
Linear Algebra and Vector Analysis for Engineers

Matrix theory, linear equations, Gauss elimination, determinants, eigenvalue problems and first order systems of ordinary differential equations, vector field theory, theorems of Green, Stokes, and Gauss.
Methods of Differential Equations
First order equations; higher order linear equations with constant coefficients, undetermined coefficients, variation of parameters, applications; Euler's equation, series solutions, special functions; linear systems; elementary partial differential equations and separation of variables; Fourier series.
This fall I might be able to take both courses. According to our school's sample curriculum, both courses are taken simultaneously in upper sophomore year (spring). Of course it is upon the decision of the students.

My questions are: how hard are both courses? Should I take both? Between the two, which one looks more like a prerequisite (preparation) for the other?

Thank you.
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mrbohn1
#2
Jun5-10, 01:37 PM
P: 97
If I were to give an opinion on which one were more "fundamental", then I'd say the linear algebra one. And that would certainly be the more useful subject to know (depending of course on what you intend to go on and do).

Methods of solving differential equations tend to be just that: a list of different methods which work in different cases. Although being able to solve differential equations is essential for a physicist, engineer etc, it won't help in any area other than differential equations. Linear algebra, on the other hand, is used all over the place.
jwxie
#3
Jun5-10, 04:23 PM
P: 283
Thank you mrbohn1. I am a CUNY City student.

daviddoria
#4
Jun6-10, 11:24 AM
P: 97
Differential Equations vs Linear Algebra

What applications are you interested in? Some fields use linear algebra heavily (computer vision) and some field use differential equations heavily (control theory).

Dave
jwxie
#5
Jun6-10, 01:23 PM
P: 283
Quote Quote by daviddoria View Post
What applications are you interested in? Some fields use linear algebra heavily (computer vision) and some field use differential equations heavily (control theory).

Dave
I am still not sure yet. But I believe as a computer engineering major (and also intended doing physics as well) I'd like to work in fields like electronic devices, such as microprocessor.

I guess I should say physics in general, but for career-wise, solid states, quantum physics.
FranciaDale
#6
Jun8-10, 05:56 AM
P: 1
"What applications are you interested in?"
I am interested in Linear algebra and defferential Equations although it is not really useable in any other fields of works. . .
HallsofIvy
#7
Jun8-10, 02:16 PM
Math
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
Thanks
PF Gold
P: 39,569
Quote Quote by FranciaDale View Post
"What applications are you interested in?"
I am interested in Linear algebra and defferential Equations although it is not really useable in any other fields of works. . .
What??? Both Linear Algebra and Differential Equations are used extensively in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, ... any science, as well as Economics and Business Administration!


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