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How do I solve an ODE with time-dependent parameters in MATLAB?

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Consider the following ODE with time-dependent parameters:
y'(t) + f(t)y(t) = g(t)
and the given initial condition:
y(0) = 1
This is an example of an ODE with time-dependent terms. Suppose the time-dependent terms are defined only through the set of data points given in two vectors. Which of the MATLAB ODE solvers should I use, and how do I set up this problem?

Accepted Answer

MathWorks Support Team
MathWorks Support Team on 14 Jul 2016
To solve this ODE, you must pass the data sets to the derivative function as additional parameters. When the ODE solver calls the derivative function, it will pass a specified time as the first input argument. You must then interpolate the datasets to obtain the value of the time-dependent terms at the specified time. This is performed within the following function, called myODE.
 
function dydt = myODE(t, y, ft, f, gt, g)
f = interp1(ft, f, t); % Interpolate the data set (ft, f) at times t
g = interp1(gt, g, t); % Interpolate the data set (gt, g) at times t
dydt = -f.*y + g; % Evalute ODE at times t
The function f is defined through the n-by-1 vectors tf and f, and the function g is defined through the m-by-1 vectors tg and g.
Now, you can refer to myODE within a call to a MATLAB ODE solver. Assume that the time-dependent parameters ft and gt are defined within the data sets generated by the following code.
ft = linspace(0, 5, 25); % Generate t for f
f = ft.^2 - ft - 3; % Generate f(t)
gt = linspace(1, 6, 25); % Generate t for g
g = 3*sin(gt - 0.25); % Generate g(t)
The following code uses the ODE45 function to solve this time-dependent ODE.
TSPAN = [1 5]; % Solve from t=1 to t=5
IC = 1; % y(t=0) = 1
[T Y] = ode45(@(t,y) myODE(t, y, ft, f, gt, g), TSPAN, IC); % Solve ODE
Note that if you are using a version of MATLAB prior to MATLAB 7.0 (R14), you will need to pass the four additional parameters ft, f, gt, and g, into the ODE solver as follows.
TSPAN = [1 5]; % Solve from t=1 to t=5
IC = 1; % y(t=0) = 1
[T Y] = ode45(@myODE, TSPAN, IC, [], ft, f, gt, g); % Solve ODE
Now you can plot the solution y(t) as a function of time.
plot(T, Y);
title('Plot of y as a function of time');
xlabel('Time'); ylabel('Y(t)');
  8 Comments
Steven Lord
Steven Lord on 27 Jan 2021
As I suspected, you put the function before the script content. Move the function to after the script content. But you need to do the interpolation inside myODE.
ft = linspace(0, 5, 25); % Generate t for f
f = ft.^2 - ft - 3; % Generate f(t)
gt = linspace(1, 6, 25); % Generate t for g
g = 3*sin(gt - 0.25); % Generate g(t)
TSPAN = [1 5]; % Solve from t=1 to t=5
IC = 1; % y(t=0) = 1
[T Y] = ode45(@(t,y) myODE(t, y, ft, f, gt, g), TSPAN, IC); % Solve ODE
plot(T, Y);
title('Plot of y as a function of time');
xlabel('Time'); ylabel('Y(t)')
function dydt = myODE(t, y, ft, f, gt, g)
% You probably want to change one of the uses of the variables f and g
% to a different name
f = interp1(ft, f, t); % Interpolate the data set (ft, f) at times t
g = interp1(gt, g, t); % Interpolate the data set (gt, g) at times t
dydt = -f.*y + g; % Evalute ODE at times t
t = [1 5]; % this isn't necessary
end

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More Answers (2)

Hemamali Chathurangani Yashika Jayathunga
Can somebody help with the classical Runge Kutta method the same question without using ODE45???
  1 Comment
reema shrestha
reema shrestha on 9 Oct 2017
http://lpsa.swarthmore.edu/NumInt/NumIntFirst.html there is an example for first order RK method. Since in the above question,the functions f(t) and g(t) are not known, I am not sure to get exact solution.

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Simone Mariano
Simone Mariano on 2 Dec 2019
Adding an additional variable that evolves as time and using it as parameter makes the trick.

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