Classification of PDEs

  • David F. GriffithsEmail author
  • John W. Dold
  • David J. Silvester
Part of the Springer Undergraduate Mathematics Series book series (SUMS)


This chapter introduces the notion of characteristics. The direction of characteristics is shown to be connected to the imposition of boundary and initial conditions that lead to well-posed problems—those that have a uniquely defined solution that depends continuously on the data. A refined classification of partial differential equations into elliptic, parabolic and hyperbolic types can then be developed.


Initial Curve Characteristic Speed Elliptic PDEs Hyperbolic Problem Positive Initial Data 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • David F. Griffiths
    • 1
    Email author
  • John W. Dold
    • 2
  • David J. Silvester
    • 2
  1. 1.University of DundeeFifeUK
  2. 2.School of MathematicsThe University of ManchesterManchesterUK

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