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In mathematics, an equation that contains partial derivatives, expressing a process of change that depends on more than one independent variable. It can be read as a statement about how a process evolves without specifying the formula defining the process. Given the initial state of the process (such as its size at time zero) and a description of how it is changing (i.e., the partial differential equation), its defining formula can be found by various methods, most based on integration. Important partial differential equations include the heat equation, the wave equation, and Laplace's equation, which are central to mathematical physics.

Learn more about partial differential equation with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.

Partial may refer to:

- partial derivative, in mathematics
- partial function, in mathematics
- partial algorithm, in computer science
- part score, in contract bridge
- partial wave, in acoustics

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Last updated on Saturday July 05, 2008 at 14:33:30 PDT (GMT -0700)

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Last updated on Saturday July 05, 2008 at 14:33:30 PDT (GMT -0700)

View this article at Wikipedia.org - Edit this article at Wikipedia.org - Donate to the Wikimedia Foundation

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