differential equation
An equation that contains derivative(s).

For example, dy/dx = 2 is a differential equation. Integration needs to be applied to solve this type of equation. Rearranging the differential equation, we have:

symbol spacedy = 2dx

Integrating both sides, we obtain:

symbol spacey = 2x + C

in which C is a constant of integration. As shown, the solution to a differential equation is itself an equation.

Differential equations that contain only first derivatives (dy/dx) are called first order. Those that contain second derivatives are called second order, etc. Generally, the highest derivative in the equation is the order of the differential equation.

Related Terms: derivative, equation, integration

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