Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am trying to understand why I should use Runge-Kutta methods. What I understood is that it is used to calculate a derivative at some point. But my question then is why not differentiate and plug in the numbers directly? Thank you

share|cite|improve this question
Could you give a concrete example of what you mean? – lhf May 17 '12 at 2:42
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Runge-Kutta is not used to calculate a derivative, it is used to solve an initial value problem for a differential equation. For example: you want to find $y(10)$ given the differential equation $\frac{dy}{dx} = \sin(y + x)$ and the initial value $y(0)=1$.

share|cite|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.