I have to solve this boundary value problem for

$$ y''(x) -x \ y(x) = 0 \\ y(a) = y_a \\ y(b)=y_b $$

for some $y_a$ and $y_b$. I have to use the Shooting method with Runge–Kutta 4.

So far I have

$$ z_1(x)=y(x) \\ z_2(x)=y'(x) $$ from which I get: $$ z_1'(x)=z_2(x) \\ z_2'(x)=x\ z_1(x) $$

And this is where it stops. What am I missing to have a full system of equations that I'll solve with Rk4? And how do I get the parameter $\alpha$ that I will have to tune?

Sorry if the question isn't well formed, but I am still quite lost here. I have looked at some other questions about shooting method but the answers just confuse me even more (it may be just because of the late hour), so a simple answer or a hint would be nice.

Thank you.


You have converted the problem into a system of two differential equations.

Now you need to set it up as a Initial Value Problem (IVP). This means you need to specify the initial values for $z_1(a)$ and $z_2(a)$. We know that $z_1(a) = y_a$, but we need to `guess' $z_2(a)$. This guess is your parameter $\alpha$.

The shooting method involves repeatedly solving this IVP problem (using RK4) over the interval $[a, b]$ with different values of $\alpha$. You then compare the computed value of $z_1(b)$ against $y_b$.

The aim is to find the value of $\alpha$ that gives the result $z_1(b) = y_b$ to the required accuracy.

A simple (but not efficient) way to do this is to find two values of $\alpha$ that bracket the value $y_b$ and then use the bisection method to refine the approximation.


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