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Do i need Partial differential equations for engineering?

  1. Sep 27, 2009 #1
    i'm interested in taking this course althought i heard it's harder but i really want to try it. do i need partial for engineering? or just ordinary
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 27, 2009 #2


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    I would suggest you consult the degree requirements for whatever program you're enrolled in (different programs will have different requirements, obviously) at whichever school you're currently at. Usually, the calendar or program advisor will be able to tell you.
  4. Sep 27, 2009 #3
    Do you know what you want to do after undergrad? Masters, Phd, go straight to work? I would talk to professors about how important math will be for whatever you want to do. If you want to do theoretical research I would imagine that partial DEQs would be very important, experimental research than maybe not (that might depend on the field though). If you want to go straight into industry then as an engineer it may not be as important, but again this may depend on the field.
  5. Sep 28, 2009 #4

    Andy Resnick

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    If you are interested, take it. Nobody can tell you what you will "need" to know 10 years from now. Knowing the subject may well serve to diffrentiate (no pun intended) you from your peers.
  6. Sep 28, 2009 #5
    I've spread my BS in EE over five years so I can take extra coursework that interests me.
    I say go for it if it's a topic of interest!
  7. Sep 28, 2009 #6


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    Partial differential equations of many kinds are used in various fields of engineering. They are the basis of finite element methods in structural, thermal and fluid dynamic analyses and computational physics/multi-physics simulations.
  8. Sep 29, 2009 #7


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    If you are interested then go for it. Part of university is learning about what you are interested in, as opposed to just what is required for some future job.

    By the way, I did electrical engineering for both undergrad and grad, and am a practicing engineer. PDEs are USEFUL! You may not find them in your future work/study, but just as likely they may be central to what you do. I usually do signal processing, but I recently had to find a Green's function for a PDE in order to satisfy my boss that we properly understood a particular issue with a system we are building, and to be able to predict what we should measure in the next phase of testing. I could not find the solution in any textbooks so I had to solve it myself. I could not have done it without a basic knowledge of PDEs (or complex analysis, for that matter!).

    In my experience, learning more math and physics is always useful, even when it seems like it shouldn't be!

    good luck

  9. Sep 29, 2009 #8


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    Also used in Transportation Eng. for Traffic Flow Theory.
  10. Sep 29, 2009 #9


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    Yes - I believe it's the general advection-diffusion PDE. I have a former classmate who did generic solutions to the equation and one of his projects was a smart highway network system.
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