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Applied Problem Solving with Matlab (10.317)
Course Goals and Assessment

There are a number of important objectives for this course and these have been summarized here to help put this course into proper context within the overall educational objectives of your undergraduate curriculum. These goals can be roughly categorized into four major components or skill areas that should be significantly enhanced upon completion of this course:

  • General Computer Literacy and Use of Specific Software (Matlab, MS Office, etc.)
  • Introductory Numerical Methods (for roots of equations, systems of equations, curve fitting, numerical integration, solution of ODEs, etc.)
  • Problem Solving Strategies and Analysis Techniques
  • Technical Communications

The bulk of the specific topics treated during the course of the semester fall directly within the first two areas. However, the overall computational emphasis here is only a means to the larger goal of strengthening your problem formulation and problem solving skills and enhancing your ability to effectively communicate technical solutions to a variety of audiences.

More specifically, upon completion of this course you should be able to perform the following tasks:

  • Apply and integrate common software packages (Matlab, MS Office, etc.) to assist in the solution and dissemination of results of engineering analyses.
  • Identify appropriate numerical techniques for solving particular classes of problems.
  • Apply existing computational procedures within Matlab to solve a variety of problems.
  • Formulate an overall solution algorithm that integrates several specific methods to solve typical design and analysis problems.
  • Implement well-documented and well-organized Matlab programs for the solution, visualization, and analysis of a given problem.
  • Optimize the design of a particular system via parametric evaluations that characterize the system as a function of its design variables.
  • Document engineering analyses in a clear, logical, and professional manner.
Overall, this course combines numerical mathematics, computer programming (within Matlab), and a systematic approach to problem solving to help you develop confidence and functional capability to tackle complex engineering design and analysis problems in your upper-level technical courses and, upon graduation, in your encounters as a practicing engineer in industry.

The course assessment, from the instructor’s viewpoint, will be accomplished by evaluating your performance on the homeworks/projects, quizzes, semester exams, and final exam. A final grade will be compiled as a weighted average of these components as indicated on the Course Requirements handout. Your informal feedback at any time during the semester is also requested and, upon completion of the course, a formal student questionnaire will be given. This will be your opportunity to give some feedback concerning your assessment of your success in meeting the above objectives and also a mechanism for general suggestions so that we can continually improve the quality of this course.

Last updated by Prof. John R. White (Sept. 2005)

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