Class Period: 1:00pm - 1:59pm MWF, Thompson Hall 303
Instructor: Mei Q. Chen

Office: Thompson Hall 230,  Office Phone: 953-7882


Course Materials

Course Outline, Lecture Notes Homework/Solutions, Exams/Solutions, MatLab Programs


Course Goals:

(1) An introduction to computer floating point number system and arithmetic.

(2) An introduction to numerical methods that are commonly used in approximating irrational numbers, root finding, curve fitting, numerical differentiation and numerical integration.

(3) An introduction to mathematical software MatLab and implementations of numerical methods in MatLab.

Textbook: Lecture Notes.

Grading: It is based on homework assignments, three hour exams, and a comprehensive final exam.


(1) Homework assignments: 25% of the final course grade.


 Homework will be assigned weekly.  Homework problems are designed to help you understand each numerical algorithm including its derivation, convergence and error analysis and uses in solving equations, curve fitting, numerical differentiation or integration.  The mathematical software MatLab will be used to implement numerical algorithms. 


I truly believe that completing each homework assignment is very important in the process of learning. You are encouraged to work on homework assignments in pairs or to discuss problems or work in progress with me and your classmates.  If a problem is solved by a team, please state the name of your team mate on your assignment.


MatLab is installed on PCs in computer labs: Thompson 220, Thompson 215, Grimsley 326, and Physics Lab.


(2) Hour exams: 45% of the final course grade.


Three one-hour exams are tentatively scheduled for October 4, October ? and November ?, respectively, all are on Wednesday. It will be re-announced a week before each hour exam. Each hour exam covers the materials that have been discussed in class since last hour exam. Hour exams are designed to test your understanding of definitions, derivations of algorithms and skills of problem solving using these algorithms. You are allowed to bring 3x5 note cards with definitions, algorithms and theorems for exams (no examples please).

(3) Paper/Essay:  10% of the final course grade.  A paper/essay about a historical development of numerical methods or a real-world application of numerical analysis is required.  Click here to see a list of references for this paper.  Each paper should be approximately 5 pages of text, double-spaced, 12-font, 1” margins, with a minimum of three sources other than Wikipedia.  The first draft is due November 18, and the final draft is due on December 9.  Each student is required to give a 5-8 minute Power Point presentation about his/her paper on December 9. Click here to get a copy of Rubric that will be used for evaluation of the paper.


(4) Final exam: 20% of the final course grade.
The final exam will be comprehensive and similar to hour exams. It is scheduled at 1:00-4:00pm on Saturday, December 12. You are allowed to bring 3x5 note cards with definitions, algorithms and theorems for the final exam (no examples please).


(5) Problem of Week: Two extra points will be added to the final exam score for each correct answer.

Grades (overall average): 

A = 90% - 100%, B = 80% - 89%, C = 70% - 79%, D = 60% - 69%, F = 59% or lower


Current grades

Office Hours/ESP Study/Help Sessions:

(1) Office Hours:  Hours: 2:30pm-3:30pm MTWRF or by appointment at any time.

(2) ESP Study/Help Sessions:  8:00pm-9:30pm Tuesday and Thursday, TH 230

If you need any assistance at hours different from listed ones, please make an appointment with me by email or phone.

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Last updated: August 22, 2017.