Introduction

Scientific computing has become an indispensable tool in many branches of research, and is vitally important for studying a wide range of physical and social phenomena. In this course we will examine the mathematical foundations of well-established numerical algorithms and explore their use through practical examples drawn from a range of scientific and engineering disciplines.

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Course information

A more detailed description of this information can be found in the course syllabus.

Lecturer
Chris H. Rycroft, chr@seas.harvard.edu. Office: Pierce Hall, Room 305.
Lectures
Tuesday & Thursday, 10:30am–11:45am in Maxwell–Dworkin, Room G115.
Teaching fellows
Tara Sowrirajan, tara_sowrirajan@g.harvard.edu.
Rui Fang, rfang@g.harvard.edu.
Martin Jin, sjin@g.harvard.edu.
Nao Ouyang, nouyang@g.harvard.edu.
Office hours
Rui: Monday 3pm–4:30pm in Maxwell–Dworkin, IACS lounge (to the left of G115)
Martin: Monday 4:30pm–6pm, Maxwell–Dworkin, IACS lounge (to the left of G115)
Chris: Tuesday 1pm–3pm in Pierce Hall, Room 305
Nao: Tuesday 3pm–4:30pm in Pierce Hall, Room 320
Tara: Friday 10am–12pm in Maxwell–Dworkin, IACS lounge (to the left of G115)
Textbook
Scientific Computing: An Introductory Survey, by Michael T. Heath.
Homework
There will be five homework assignments. The first is due on Friday September 22nd, and the remainder are due on Wednesdays at roughly two week intervals. Homework assignments will be due at 5pm in the dropbox on the course Canvas page. In addition, an introductory homework assignment 0 is provided, which is ungraded but designed for you to refresh your familiarity with programming.
Homework policy
Discussion and the exchange of ideas are essential to doing academic work. For assignments in this course, you are encouraged to consult with your classmates as you work on problem sets. However, after discussions with peers, make sure that you can work through the problem yourself and ensure that any answers you submit for evaluation are the result of your own efforts. In addition, you must cite any books, articles, websites, lectures, etc. that have helped you with your work using appropriate citation practices. Similarly, you must list the names of students with whom you have collaborated on problem sets. Using homework solutions from previous years is forbidden.
Exam
There will be one 48 h take-home midterm exam, posted on the website at 5pm on Thursday November 8th and due at 5pm on Saturday November 10th.
Grades
The final grade will be based on homework assignments (60%), the take-home midterm (10%), and the final project (30%).
Final project
This document provides a detailed overview of the final project organization. The final project will be due at 11:59pm on December 13. In general, the final project will be completed in groups of two or three students. Single person or multi-person projects are also allowed with instructor permission. Each group will propose a project topic drawn from an application area of interest. The project should make use of concepts covered in the course. The project should be roughly equivalent in scope to a section of a published research article. You will be required to write software to solve your problem, and to submit a report that includes a mathematical discussion of your methodology in relation to the theory covered in the course. Projects will be assessed based on a written report, and the quality and correctness of software. Code should be well-documented and should be organized so that figures submitted in the report can be easily reproduced by the graders.