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Problem Solving with Matlab (10.317)
Course Description and Requirements
The focus of this course will be to develop your problem solving
skills for a broad range of technical applications. Matlab will
be 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 reasonably short, well-structured
programs. Applied numerical methods will be introduced as a means
for solving a wide variety of engineering problems. The numerical
methods to be studied include topics such as roots of equations,
systems of linear equations, curve fitting, numerical integration,
ordinary differential equations, etc., with the emphasis on how
to use these methods to solve engineering problems. The goal here
will be to develop an inventory of standard mathematical and numerical
analysis tools and a good understanding of the programming syntax
within Matlab to allow one to use these tools in practical applications.
The development of good communications skills for the documentation
of engineering analyses is also stressed as a key goal of this
The course will be applications-oriented, but a fair amount of
mathematics will be used, as needed, to allow us to formulate,
solve, and analyze technical problems. A series of design and
analysis applications from various engineering disciplines will
be used to illustrate the key concepts from the course. Overall,
this course should provide you with a variety of practical Matlab
programming and general problem-solving skills, and these abilities
should be very useful throughout your remaining technical courses
at the University and in your subsequent professional careers.
Steven C. Chapra, Applied Numerical Methods with Matlab for Engineers
and Scientists, McGraw Hill (2005).
Amos Gilat, Matlab -- An Introduction with Applications, 2nd Edition,
John Wiley & Sons (2005).
"MATLAB Student Version Release 14 SP3," The Mathworks,
Inc. (2005). Note that purchasing the Student Edition of Matlab
is not required, since Matlab is available in the Department Computer
Lab. However, it is highly recommended as a good investment if
you have your own computer! Note that version R2006a is currently
available in the lab.
J. R. White, "Applied Problem Solving with Matlab: Additional
Course Materials (Fall 2006)." This booklet, which is available
from the bookstore, contains some general course information,
a quick reference to the many Matlab demos available on the web,
and a set of detailed worked-out applications that illustrate
the various problem-solving techniques discussed throughout the
course. A written version of the lecture notes is also available
for some of the early lectures.
A solid foundation in mathematics through differential equations
is expected. Some introductory background with a structured programming
language would also be helpful.
The requirements for this course include two exams during the
semester, a comprehensive final exam, several short quizzes, and
a variety of homework assignments and projects. The homework/projects
will be collected and graded for technical content, style and
grammar, and for overall professional appearance. The graded homework
and projects represent a significant part of the evaluation process
for this course since it is expected that a large part of the
learning of the course material will be associated with the student’s
effort on the homework assignments. Late homework will be accepted
and recorded as being complete, but severe late penalties will
be applied. A maximum grade of 50% will be given for any late
work since some solutions are discussed in class and all solutions
are posted shortly after the assignments are collected. Also note
that HW assignments are due at the beginning of class!!!
Short quizzes may also be given during class lectures to address
key concepts from previous classes and from the assigned reading.
These quizzes will be evaluated and the quiz grades will be integrated
into your homework grade for the course.
Also, with only two exams required during the semester and a final
exam during Finals Week, it is expected that everyone will be
present for the scheduled examinations -- thus, no makeup exams
will be given (except for extreme emergency situations)!!! Since
the quizzes are unannounced, this no-makeup policy also applies
to the quizzes -- so you should plan to attend classes on a regular
The final grade for this course will be determined as follows: