Intro to Scientific Computing (Phys 503)

Prof. Gladden, Lewis Hall 104, Wed. & Fri. 11:00 - 12:15


Welcome to Introduction to Scientific
Computing with Dr. GladdenGladden Head Shot

This is a course targeted toward Graduate Students in the Physical Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geology, ...) as well as Mathematics. The purpose of the course is to provide these students with a coherent picture of the role of computers in the sciences as well as the practical skills they will need in their graduate studies or professional positions in science. The role of computers in science is, of course, an enormous topic with many highly specialized niches. This course will focus on what one might call a "base level of knowledge" which most scientists will be expected to have. It also will provide a good starting point from which a more advanced course or self-study may follow. After completing the course, students should have developed a set of tools and skills they will immediately find useful in their study and research. Specific topics covered will be: the basics of the Python programming language, scientifically related object oriented programming, numerical differentiation and integration methods, linear and non-linear fitting of models to data (regression), graphical representation of data and models, roots of functions, and numerical precision and error issues, adaptive Runge-Kutta methods and solutions to coupled ordinary differential equations, partial differential equations. As time allows, more advanced topics such as parallel computing, time series analysis, and graphical user interface programming will be covered.

Student Resources:

  • Lecture Notes and Sample Code: These will be made available to you on the News and Handouts page.Text
  • Text Book: The text I have selected is A Primer on Scientific Programming with Python by Hans Petter Langtangen (5th edition, Springer Press, 2016). It
    reflects as closely as possible my vision for this course, however it is not a 1 to 1 mapping! We will be using the text regularly, but not proceeding through it chapter by chapter. The current (5th) edition is what we will use.
  • My office hours. Make good use of these. If you come and see me when you are confused or having trouble, I know you are trying and can get you pointed in the right direction.

Some Details for Spring 2018:

Instructor: Dr. Josh Gladden
Lecture: W F 11:00 - 12:15
Office: Lyceum 313
Office hours: I am around all the time. Best to make an appointment by email.
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