Scientific Computing

Spring, 2002 Jonathan Goodman
Office hours: Wednesday, 10-12. Office: 617
Department of Mathematics
Department of Computer Science
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the prerequisites for the class?
Linear Algebra and Multivariate Calculus.
I took Linear Algebra a few years ago and might be rusty. What should I do?
The Schaum's Outline series is a collection of review books for many technical subjects. Buy and read the outline on Linear Algebra or Multivariate Calculus (not Vector Calculus). It is best to do this before the term starts.
Is C/C++ programming required?
Yes. There will be many programming assignments that should be done in C or C++.
Can I do the programs in Matlab (perl, VBA, Java,...)?
No. These languages are not yet suitable for large scale scientific computing. If you know any of them, you can pick up what you need of C or C++ easily
Do we have to use Matlab?
I strongly recommend Matlab for visualization, but there are alternatives for the stubborn, including Excel and gnuplot.
Can I take the course if I can't program in C yet?
Yes, but it will be a challenge. Do the exercises here by the first week of class.
What is the text book for the class?
There is no text. Lecture notes are being posted on the class web page.
How will the class be graded?
There will be weekly assignments, most of them involving programming. There will also be a final exam that counts for 30% of the grade.
How much work is required for the class?
Normally, it should take up to, but hopefully not much more than 8 hours per week to keep up and do the assignments. People with rusty backgrounds may spend more in the early weeks. If you spend much more, please let me know.
Can we work together on the homeworks?
Yes and no. You certainly should talk about the homework and study together. However, everyone should end up writing their own code and answers. Since the grade is based largely on the homeworks, handing in code you did not write is a serious form of cheating.