Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What is the definition of a coefficient

  1. Jul 1, 2012 #1
    What is the definition of a "coefficient"

    How would you define what a coefficient is in the context of differential equations? How do they influence the graph of a DE (variable and constant)?

    Thank you in advance
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 1, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Re: What is the definition of a "coefficient"

    Hey vehans and welcome to the forums.

    Coeffecients usually prefix standardized terms in some representation, and it varies from representation to representation.

    For polynomials, they are usually real numbers that pre-multiply all of the integer power terms of your independent variable.

    For differential equations, they are usually in general, functions of your variables that pre-multiply the terms of your integer-power derivative terms (i.e. D^n where n is an integer >= 0).

    You would have to double check the nonclamenture in your source (book, website, etc) but that is the usual way to interpret a coeffecient (something that pre-multiplies something else dependent on the context of the representation).
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook