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Free Online Course On Nonlinear Differential Equations

Boston University is offering free online course on Nonlinear Differential Equations. This course follows a modern dynamical systems approach to the subject. In particular, equations are analyzed using qualitative, numerical, and if possible, symbolic techniques.

In this five-week course, applicants will learn the mathematical theory of nonlinear differential equations and their application to systems such as the pendulum, the glider, and the weather. This course will start on October 3, 2017.

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Course At A Glance 

Length: 5 weeks
Effort: 8-10 hours pw
Subject: Math
Institution: Boston University and edx
Languages: English
Price: Free
Certificate Available: Yes, Add a Verified Certificate for $49
Session: Course Starts on October 3, 2017

Providers’ Details

Boston University’s impact extends far beyond our campus in the heart of Boston. Our students, faculty, and alumni travel around the globe to study, teach, and become immersed in the communities in which they live.

About This Course

Phenomena as diverse as the motion of the planets, the spread of a disease, and the oscillations of a suspension bridge are governed by differential equations. MATH226x is an introduction to the mathematical theory of ordinary differential equations.

Why Take This Course?

MATH226 is essentially the edX equivalent of MA226, a one-semester course in ordinary differential equations taken by more than 500 students per year at Boston University. It is divided into three parts. MATH226.3x is the last part.

Learning Outcomes

  • How to apply the theory of linear systems to nonlinear systems near equilibrium points
  • How to use null clines to simplify phase plane analysis, and discuss systems with conserved quantities, dissipative systems, and gradient systems
  • Basic understanding of chaotic systems using the Lorenz system as the primary example.


Paul Blanchard

Paul Blanchard is professor of mathematics at Boston University. He grew up in Sutton, Massachusetts, USA, spent his undergraduate years at Brown University, and received his Ph.D. from Yale University.

Kyle Vigil

Kyle Vigil is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Physics at Boston University. His research involves high numerical aperture optical systems and sub-wavelength resolution microscopy.


Topics covered in MATH226.1x and MATH226.2x. In particular, initial-value problems, general solutions, computer simulation of solutions to first-order systems, geometric objects such as the vector field and the phase portrait of a first-order system, the classification of two-dimensional linear systems.

How To Join This Course

  • Go to the course website link
  • Create an edX account to SignUp
  • Choose “Register Now” to get started.
  • EdX offers honor code certificates of achievement, verified certificates of achievement, and XSeries certificates of achievement. Currently, verified certificates are only available in some courses.
  • Once applicant sign up for a course and activate their account, click on the Log In button on the edx.org homepage and type in their email address and edX password. This will take them to the dashboard, with access to each of their active courses. (Before a course begins, it will be listed on their dashboard but will not yet have a “view course” option.)

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