Syllabus for Math 481/581 (Spring 2005)

Basic Information

Time TR 1:00-1:50
Place CHVEZ 103
Course Web Page
Instructor Marek Rychlik, Professor
Office Math 605
Phone (520) 621-6864
Office Hours TBA


This class is devoted to the basic scientific computing and it will be useful to most science and engineering students. The most useful knowledge that you will acquire in this class includes: The selection of topics includes: In the past, the course has met with an enthusiastic reception by its students, reflected both in the student comments and the teaching evaluations (see Prof. Rychlik's teaching evaluations for Fall 2003). Many students commented that this was one of the most ueful classes they have taken.


This class addresses the computing needs for a variety of science majors and it does not require computer background. The mathematical subjects involving linear algebra, differential equations and statistics will be preceeded by a brief summary of the mathematics involved, and will be accessible to students who took two semesters of calculus. A course in differential equations, linear algebra or engineering math is a plus.


There will be one main textbook and several optional texts available at the bookstore ordered throughout the semester. In addition, there will be an ample amount of supplementary material available through the class Web site.


The software used in this class is predominantly high-quality free scientific software (Octave, Maxima, R, the Linux operating system, LaTeX). It will be distributed to students on CD-ROMS and/or downloadable over the Internet. The commercial software (MATLAB, Mathematica) is available on the University of Arizona student cluster and it can be accessed from either the public computer labs or over the Internet.


The course will not have in-class exams, but there will be three midterm projects and a final project, on which the grading will be based. Each midterm project is worth 25% or the grade, and the final project is worth the remaining 25%.


Small homework assignments with the purpose of helping with the midtrem and final projects will be assigned regularly in class. The homework will be submitted electronically, in required formats. Typically a LaTeX file with PostScript figures, small pieces of computer code written in Matlab, Octave or Mathematica, and packaged into a zip archive. The homework does not earn credit directly, but it will be considered as measure of progress towards a project. If necessary, the instructor may provide feedback to the student and make suggestions towards successful completion of the homework assignments.


Students are expected to attend classes regularly, and to be familiar with the University Class Attendance policy as it appears in the General Catalog. Missing 4 lectures will be considered an excessive absence will result in a failing grade. Missing a deadline on a class project will automatically result in a zero score for it. The students have the responsible for keeping informed of any announcements, syllabus adjustments or policy changes made during scheduled classes.

The grade of I

The grade of I will be awarded if all the following conditions are met:

  1. The student has completed all but a small portion of the required work.

  2. The student has scored at least 50% on the work completed.

  3. The student has a valid reason for not completing the course on time.

  4. The student agrees to make up the material in a short period of time.

  5. The student asks for the incomplete before the final exam.