Strang and Moler Video Course on Differential Equations

Posted by Cleve Moler,

Gil Strang has produced a MOOC-style video course on Differential Equations and Linear Algebra. I have added some videos about the MATLAB ODE suite. The series is available from the MathWorks Web site, MIT OpenCourseWare and several other popular sources.


18.06 and 8.01

MIT's Professor Gilbert Strang has taught 18.06, Linear Algebra, regularly for many years. Over fifteen years ago MIT videotaped the lectures. MIT was also taping 8.01, the first-year physics course, taught by the flamboyant Walter Lewin, in the same lecture room the hour before. They were careful with the videography, with professional camera work, good lighting and good audio. There was no computer graphics, no PowerPoint. Just excellent lectures, using big chalk on actual black boards. You can still see Gil's original lectures by Googling "18.06", or by following this link.

MIT decided to make the lectures freely available on the web, with no strings attached. That was an unusual move at the time. The two courses proved to be very popular. They led to the creation of what MIT now calls OpenCourseWare and were in part responsible for the MOOC, Massive Open Online Courses, revolution in higher education.

Gil told me the experience changed his life. He realized he could reach millions of students instead of just one classroom.


Strang recently published a new book, Differential Equations and Linear Algebra.

He invited MathWorks to join him in producing a series of videos on the subject. I joined the project to describe how MATLAB provides tools for solving ODEs.

Here is a link to the home page for the project at the MathWorks. Learn Differential Equations.

And here is a link to a video where Gil and I have a short chat. Gil and Cleve chat.

Differential Equations and Linear Algebra

Gil produced 55 videos, averaging about 15 minutes each. There are eight topic areas, which map to and complement the textbook, DELA.

  • Introduction
  • First Order Equations
  • Second Order Equations
  • Graphical and Numerical Methods
  • Vector Spaces and Subspaces
  • Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors
  • Applied Mathematics and ATA
  • Fourier and Laplace Transforms

Here is a screen shot from one of the videos to give you a feel for the style of the presentation.

Solving ODEs in MATLAB

My part of the series is much smaller, only a dozen videos, also about 15 minutes each. The first video is about Euler's method. My Euler's method code is ode1.m. It is 16 lines long; half of the lines are comments. The last three videos are examples. One of them is based on my blog post about the tumbling box ode. Gil also discusses the tumbling box in one of his videos. I have included several hands on exercises that you can try out by downloading the MATLAB code available on the MATLAB Central File Exchange, solving ODEs in MATLAB.

Here is a screen shot from my discussion of stiffness.


The home page for the project at the MathWorks is <>.

The series is available from MIT OpenCourseWare under the title Learn Differential Equations: Up Close with Gilbert Strang and Cleve Moler. The OCW course number is 18-009. The URL is <>.

The videos are also available through the following distribution sites.

YouTube: <>.

iTunes: <>.

Internet Archive: <>.

Get the MATLAB code

Published with MATLAB® R2016a


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