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Computer Laboratory


Applications of Differential Equations

Population Dynamics

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As we've seen, there are two popular models for describing population growth, both of which involve first order differential equations. We're going to discuss both models, and compare the results we get with each against reality.


Mathematica has the ability to import real world data from a massive curated database stored on the servers of Wolfram Research. This database is constantly updated, and extends to hundreds of gigabytes of information. In this lab we're going to take advantage of this ability in order to obtain the population information of various countries throughout time.

Let's start right here at home. Census data for the United States has been available since 1790, and Wolfram's database holds this population information if we can just figure out how to access it. The command we will be needing is CountryData. Switch to Mathematica and ask for its syntax in the usual way, (using the question-mark command.) Come back here when you're done.

Let's discuss what you should have gotten.

Compass If you're lost, impatient, want an overview of this laboratory assignment, or maybe even all three, you can click on the compass button on the left to go to the table of contents for this laboratory assignment.

ODE Laboratories: A Sabbatical Project by Christopher A. Barker

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