1.  People


Uri Ascher
Office: ICCS 223
Email: ascher@cs.ubc.ca

Instructor's office hours: M 12-1pm.

TAs: Edwin Chen (edwinchenyj@gmail.com) and Michael Wathen (mwathen@cs.ubc.ca)

TA office hours: Edwin: T 11-12, Michael: Th 9-10, Demco learning center, ICCS X151.

2.  News

3.  Course Material

Assignments, slides, exams are available here (password protected)

4.  Course Overview

The course provides an introduction to numerical computation. Very frequently, mathematical problems cannot be solved precisely, and an approximate solution obtained by a series of calculations on a computer is the best one can hope to find. In the course we will look at a variety of mathematical problems and learn how to choose good numerical methods for solving them, and how to analyze the error. The main focus will be on linear systems of equations. We will also study nonlinear equations in one variable, and nonlinear systems of equations.

Here is a tentative but detailed outline.

5.  Policies, homework, exams, grading

Homework. There will be eight assignments throughout the term. All homeworks involve programming tasks in Matlab. You may collaborate and consult with other students in the course, but you must hand in your own assignments and your own code. If you have collaborated or consulted with someone while working on your assignment, you must acknowledge this explicitly in your handed-in assignment.
If you are unsure about any of these rules, feel free to consult with your instructor or visit the departmental webpage on Collaboration and Plagiarism.

Homework submission deadline: Homeworks should be submitted at the beginning of class to the professor. If you cannot do so, then please time-stamp your assignment at the Computer Science main office and leave it at the professor's mailbox. If neither of these options work for you, please email the professor to make another arrangement. A printout of your Matlab code should be included in the hardcopy you hand in, along with and all your results, graphs, etc.

Late submissions: Each student gets three delays to use during the term. A delay allows you to submit by the following class without penalty; for example, if an assignment is due on Wednesday in class, then submission by Friday counts as one delay, and by Monday counts as two delays. Apart from using delays, late submissions are not accepted. Once a solution set has been posted, no more late submissions are permitted; consequently, you may not always be able to use your delays.

Exams. There will be one midterm exam and one final exam. Details on these exams will be posted in due time. The date of the midterm exam is:

  • Monday, October 26, 11:00, in class

There is no makeup midterm exam. If you missed the midterm exam you must provide a justified documented reason.

Tentative grading scheme. Your grade will be determined approximately by the following scheme:

  • assignments: 40%
  • midterm exam: 20%
  • final exam: 40%

The instructors reserve the right to modify the grading scheme at any time.
Your midterm exam grade will not be counted if it is lower than your final exam grade. To pass the course you must do the assigned coursework, write the midterm and final exams, pass the final exam, and obtain an overall pass average according to the grading scheme. Failure to comply with any of these requirements may result in a grade lower than the one computed by the grading scheme.

6.  Textbook, Links and Resources

Textbook: Uri Ascher and Chen Greif, A First Course in Numerical Methods, published by SIAM, 2011.
If you scroll down a bit, you'll see an errata file, as well as a link to a supplementary webpage which includes Matlab programs. These links are also available on my home page.

The book is available online from the UBC Library.

Recommended reference book: Michael T. Heath, Scientific Computing, an Introductory Survey, published by McGraw Hill, Second Edition (2002).

There are other textbooks around, good especially if you need more exercises.

Matlab is a product of Mathworks. Their own guides can be found on their website. A couple of other resources, with many additional links:

Careless use of numerical methods, including software packages, can lead to surprises and disappointments. Some of the more famous/spectacular disasters are documented in