MATH 382/L
Introduction to Scientific Computing

Fall 2013




  • final review sheet

  • Here is a picture and some equations that should help you proving that the orthocenter and circumcenter that you find by intersecting two of the lines is also a point on the third line. This doesn't work for the centroid, but a similar approach can be followed.

  • The midterm exam will take place on Wednesday, October 16th, during regular lab hours at LO 1326. You are allowed to bring one page (one side of an 8.5 x 11 in sheet) of notes. This review sheet will help you prepare for the exam.

  • Wednesday labs will be held regularly at LO 1322 from now on

  • How to install the software you will need for the course

    • LaTeX - a powerful typesetting system that will allow you to create pdf documents as required for your homework and lab assignments. To download and install it, you may

      • follow the instructions posted by Prof. B. Shapiro, or

      • if you are a Mac user, you may also try to download and install TeXShop

    • Enthought Canopy - a Python distribution for scientific computing, it contains all you will need for this course.  To install it:

      • you will first need to obtain an academic license

      • after creating your license, login into Enthought's site

      • you should see a box that says that you already have an academic license and a link to download Canopy, click it

      • this will take you to a download page that should have identified your operating system (i.e., Windows, Linux, Mac OSX)and allow you to choose from different versions (for Mac OSX, select 32-bit, others should be fine with 64-bit)

  • class starts on Monday, Aug. 26th, at 10.00. We'll meet at LO 1326.

  • our first lab meeting will be held at LO 1326 on Wednesday, Aug. 28th, at 10.00.


  • instructor: Jorge Balbás, Live Oak (LO) 1301-F, (818) 677 7797, jorge.balbas -at-

  • lab assistant: TBA

meeting times and office hours

  • lecture: Mon 10.00 - 11.40 AM at LO 1326

  • computer lab: Wed 10.00 - 11.50 AM at LO 1322

  • office hours:

    • Mon 12.00 - 1.00 at LO 1301-F,

    • Wed 12.00 - 1.00 at LO 1322 (to be confirmed),

    • Thurs 11.00 - 12.00 at LO 1301-F
    • other times by appointment

about the course

  • course overview. This course introduces mathematical and computational concepts and techniques for creating solutions to problems arising from science and engineering. Computing topics include programming environments, algorithms and their implementation, data structures, file I/O, visualization tools, code libraries and Object Oriented Design. The mathematical content includes ODE models arising from applications, numerical algorithms, and, if time allows, an introduction to Fourier analysis and its applications. The essentials of computer programming are developed using Python, a powerful scripting language. This course requires a significant time commitment.

  • corequisite: MATH262

  • textbooks:

    required text: A primer on Scientific Programming with Python, 3rd edition, by Hans Petter Langtangen, Springer

    Visit the book's reference page to find more about the software required to work with this book.

  • reference texts:

    A list of topics, class notes, and other course materials are available here. I may also refer to topics in the following texts from time to time

    and the links below

  • course materials (lecture notes, lab notes, slides, etc.)

  • grading policy view
  • computer software and facilities

    • Python. The programming assignments and computer lab exercises will be done with Python, a powerful scripting language with simple and compact syntax. We'll make extensive use of packages such as NumPy, SciPy, and matplotlib, which add functionality to Python by providing data structures and mathematical objects (e.g., matrices) and plotting capabilities.

      The computers in the lab (LO 1322) have a full Enthought Python Distribution (EPD) installed and you are encouraged to download and install your own.

    • LaTeX. Homework assignments and computer lab reports should be typed using LaTeX, a powerful typesetting system that gives the user a great deal of control over the formatting of the documents and provides commands to type mathematical expressions and symbols.

      The computers in the lab have a complete LaTeX installation and you are encouraged to download and install your own (see the links below).


Written homework will be assigned in class evey othe week and collected via moodle. Students may work together in groups and discuss the homework problems with each other, but each student should write up and submit their own solutions. Homewrok solutions must be submitted online via moodle in pdf format (generated with LaTeX).

computer labs

Programming assignments will be posted here every other week. Typically, these assignments will consist of a list of problems -related to the topics discussed in class and lab that week- to be solved using Python. While group work is encouraged, each student is expected to write his/her own code and to submit a report with his/her own results and conclusions. Lab assignments will be submitted and collected online.


Here are some links to online materials and references relevant to the course. If you know of anything worth posting here, please email it to me.

math and scientific computing











check here for examples from lecture and lab (you may need to right-click on the link and choose save file rather than just clicking on it)

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