# Inverse scattering transform

## Method for solving certain nonlinear partial differential equations / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In mathematics, the **inverse scattering transform** is a method that solves the initial value problem for a nonlinear partial differential equation using mathematical methods related to wave scattering.^{[1]}^{: 4960 } The *direct scattering transform* describes how a function scatters waves or generates bound-states.^{[2]}^{: 39–43 } The *inverse scattering transform* uses wave scattering data to construct the function responsible for wave scattering.^{[2]}^{: 66–67 } The direct and inverse scattering transforms are analogous to the direct and inverse Fourier transforms which are used to solve linear partial differential equations.^{[2]}^{: 66–67 }

Using a pair of differential operators, a 3-step algorithm may solve nonlinear differential equations; the initial solution is transformed to scattering data (direct scattering transform), the scattering data evolves forward in time (time evolution), and the scattering data reconstructs the solution forward in time (inverse scattering transform).^{[2]}^{: 66–67 }

This algorithm simplifies solving a nonlinear partial differential equation to solving 2 linear ordinary differential equations and an ordinary integral equation, a method ultimately leading to analytic solutions for many otherwise difficult to solve nonlinear partial differential equations.^{[2]}^{: 72 }