Concept

# Distribution (mathematics)

Summary
Distributions, also known as Schwartz distributions or generalized functions, are objects that generalize the classical notion of functions in mathematical analysis. Distributions make it possible to differentiate functions whose derivatives do not exist in the classical sense. In particular, any locally integrable function has a distributional derivative. Distributions are widely used in the theory of partial differential equations, where it may be easier to establish the existence of distributional solutions (weak solutions) than classical solutions, or where appropriate classical solutions may not exist. Distributions are also important in physics and engineering where many problems naturally lead to differential equations whose solutions or initial conditions are singular, such as the Dirac delta function. A function f is normally thought of as on the in the function domain by "sending" a point x in the domain to the point f(x). Instead of
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