Information about "Computer Methods in Mathematical Sciences I" --- Fall 2000

Class meets Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 9:00 - 10:00 in David Rittenhouse Lab, room A5.

Our textbook is "Elementary Numerical Analysis" by Kendall Atkinson. It should be on reserve in the math/physics library and on sale in the campus bookstore. Also, "Getting started with MATLAB 5: a quick introduction for scientists and engineers" by Rudra Pratap should be on reserve in the math/physics library.

There is a course web-page, where I will post the homework assignments and provide matlab programs for you to cannibalize.

There will be two midterm exams and one final exam. The first midterm exam will be on Friday October 6. The second midterm will be in November. I will not give make-up exams or early exams, so be careful in making your travel plans. There will be no class on Monday September 18 --- I will schedule a makeup class later in the semester.

On grading, homework will be worth 30%, each midterm will be worth 20%, and the final will be worth 30%.

Homework will be assigned daily and due on Wednesdays. Since this course involves computers, our destiny is not fully our own. For this reason, I will accept _two_ late homeworks per student. You would be well-advised to save this option for when the system crashes unexpectedly. Also, since the course involves programming and using your programs, it has more of a lab-feel than other math courses. You should start working on your homework at least three days before it is due.

I _strongly_ urge you to work in groups. Often you will understand something that stumps your classmates. And vice versa.

The programming work in this course will be done with matlab. This is a user-friendly interactive program which is used in some of the undergraduate engineering courses. It is also used by professors doing their research, by graduate students working on their PhD research, and by workers in industry (finance, insurance, and science).

I hope to have Matlab in the public computer room at your dorm so you can use it conveniently. It is already installed in the math department PC room, 4N16, and in the Towne computer room, where engineering students can use it. I will provide matlab programs for you to work with and modify. The matlab primer is linked to the course web-page. The primer is a crash course that you should work through and master the rudiments of matlab.

If you are having problems with matlab, send me an email. And then return to trying to figure it out on your own. I will try to help as quickly as I can. If you've figured it out in the meantime, send me a second email so I don't waste my time.

My office hours are Mondays 1-2, Tuesdays 10-11, or by appointment. My office is David Rittenhouse Lab 4E5a. My phone number is (215) 898-8472 and my email address is

Please come to me if you have any problems with the homework, with the amount of homework, with the course, or with anything else. The sooner we deal with any problems you might be having, the better. My door is always open. Do feel comfortable stopping by --- if I'm busy, I'll just ask you to come back later!