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Applied Problem Solving with Matlab
Prof. John R. White

Summary Course Description:
This introductory numerical methods course develops problem solving skills for a broad range of technical applications. Matlab is used as the programming environment, since it gives all the key elements of a full programming language, yet its large inventory of built-in functions and relatively concise syntax allows the solution of complex problems within short, well-structured programs. Applied numerical methods are introduced as a means for solving a wide variety of engineering problems.

The course is broken into two components, with the first several weeks devoted to learning Matlab, and the remainder on the couse focused on numerical methods and applications. In the second part of the course, after a brief discussion of numerical error, the numerical techniques studied include topics such as roots of equations, systems of linear and nonlinear equations, curve fitting, numerical integration, ordinary differential equations, etc., with the emphasis on how to use these methods to solve engineering problems.

Last Taught: The last time I taught this course was during Fall 2017.

Course-Related Educational Resources:
I have taught various versions of this introductory numerical methods/problem solving course many times over the past 30+ years, starting even before the first version of Matlab was released in the late 1980s. Certainly the course details have changed over the years, but the overall computer programming and computational emphasis in this course has always only been a means to the larger goal of strengthening the student's problem formulation and problem solving skills, along with enhancing his or her ability to effectively communicate technical solutions to a variety of audiences. For the last several years, Matlab has become the main programming tool in the course, so all the coding instructions, numerical methods examples, illustrative applications, and sample HW examples and lab exercises in the resource list given below use the Matlab software, where everything was updated and last used during the Fall 2017 semester at UMass-Lowell. There is a lot of "really good stuff" here so I encourage you to check it out -- Enjoy!!!

The formal texts used in Fall 2017 were as follows (note that earlier editions of both texts were also acceptable):
Steven C. Chapra, Applied Numerical Methods with Matlab for Engineers and Scientists, 4th Edition, McGraw Hill (2018).
Amos Gilat, Matlab -- An Introduction with Applications, 6th Edition, John Wiley & Sons (2017).

Resource List:
Formal Lecture Notes and Slides from Classroom Presentations

Matlab Demos used within Lecture Notes and Class Presentations

Additional Detailed Illustrative Applications

Fall 2017 Lab Exercises (with Solutions)

Fall 2017 HW Assignments (with Solutions)

Fall 2017 Quizzes and Exams

Note: The easiest way to download the Matlab m-files from the above resource list is to right mouse click on the file of interest, select the save target as menu option, and then save the file to the desired directory on your local machine. Also, be sure that you do not change the name of the m-file since, if you do, any subfunction references may not work correctly...

Last updated by Prof. John R. White (February 2020)

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