This paper presents a unique solver for nonlinear initial-boundary value partial differential equations (PDE) that integrates with Microsoft Excel as a pure math function. The solver receives via input arguments formulas, variables, and parameters for the PDE, and is executed as a regular formula command in a range of cells. The solver, utilizing the method of lines, evaluates to a formatted tabular solution suitable for direct plotting of snapshot or transient views. Design of the solver is made possible by bypassing restrictions that block a worksheet function from receiving and evaluating formulas while preserving its purity. Three examples are presented to demonstrate the merits of this unconventional solver design which shields the tedious algorithmic implementation details from the user, and greatly simplifies solving a PDE using an intuitive math function without any dialogues, macros or VBA programming.
Ghaddar, Chahid K.
Unlocking the Spreadsheet Utility for Calculus: A Pure Worksheet Solver for Differential Equations,
Spreadsheets in Education (eJSiE):
1, Article 5.
Available at: http://epublications.bond.edu.au/ejsie/vol9/iss1/5