### 2.27.2006

## Systems of linear differential equations

We're studying systems of linear differential equations (or vector-valued differential equations) in my class right now. Since linear algebra isn't an official prerequisite for the class, I've had to give a crash course in matrix algebra and eigenvectors during lecture. I think I've succeeded in going in enough detail to bore everybody who's taken linear algebra, but briefly enough that the students who haven't taken linear algebra are still confused. Win-win, baby.

But seriously, I think it's a better idea to leave systems of DEs for a linear algebra class. The time could be spent looking at Laplace transforms or numerical solutions -- these are tools that are more useful to a wider audience, I think. Anybody who needs to know about systems of DEs probably also needs a full course in linear algebra, and it's easier to teach DEs in a linear algebra class than it is to teach linear algebra in a DEs class.

But seriously, I think it's a better idea to leave systems of DEs for a linear algebra class. The time could be spent looking at Laplace transforms or numerical solutions -- these are tools that are more useful to a wider audience, I think. Anybody who needs to know about systems of DEs probably also needs a full course in linear algebra, and it's easier to teach DEs in a linear algebra class than it is to teach linear algebra in a DEs class.

### Comments:

I kinda liked linear algebra, but differential equations? *shiver*

And the exams and homework problems you have uses the same font as the math department at my school? *double shiver*

And the exams and homework problems you have uses the same font as the math department at my school? *double shiver*

The typesetting software I use is LaTeX, which is pretty much the industry standard in math, science and engineering departments. The font is the default Roman font.

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