Weak solution

Weak solutions are important because a great many differential equations encountered in modelling real-world phenomena do not admit of sufficiently smooth solutions, and the only way of solving such equations is using the weak formulation. Even in situations where an equation does have differentiable solutions, it is often convenient to first prove the existence of weak solutions and only later show that those solutions are in fact smooth enough.

As an illustration of the concept, consider the first-order wave equation: