In mathematics, partial differential equations (PDE) are a type of differential equation, i.e., a relation involving an unknown function (or functions) of several independent variables and their partial derivatives with respect to those variables. PDEs are used to formulate, and thus aid the solution of, problems involving functions of several variables.
PDEs are for example used to describe the propagation of sound or heat, electrostatics, electrodynamics, fluid flow, and elasticity. These seemingly distinct physical phenomena can be formalized identically (in terms of PDEs), which shows that they are governed by the same underlying dynamic. PDEs find their generalization in stochastic partial differential equations. Just as ordinary differential equations often model dynamical systems, partial differential equations often model multidimensional systems.
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