COM S 322 - Introduction to Scientific Computing

Six-Week Session - Summer 2003 (July 7 - August 18)

Course Goal

The purpose of this course is to provide students with a basic introduction to numerical analysis and scientific computation. Students will be able to identify, analyze and ameliorate computational issues in a scientific computing setting.

Course Meetings

Monday-Friday, 1:00-2:15 P.M.
Hollister Hall, Room 320.


Jaime H. Barrera
657 Rhodes Hall
Office Hours: 2:30p-3:20p MTW.

Teaching Assistant

Gun Srijuntongsiri
4162 Upson Hall
Office Hours: 3:30p-5:30p W.

Required Text

Introduction to Scientific Computing: A Matrix-Vector Approach based on Matlab (Second Edition)
Author: Charles Van Loan
Publisher: Prentice Hall
ISBN: 0-13-949157-0
Note: The first edition will not work for the course.

Course Material

This course will cover the majority of Chapters 1-9 in the textbook. Thus, we will cover the following topics: interpolation, quadrature, linear and nonlinear equation solving, least-squares fitting and ordinary differential equations. Efficiency, accuracy and stability will be stressed. Computer programming will be done using MATLAB.

Course Requirements

Lecture and section attendance is required, however attendance will not be taken.

The requirements for CS 322 are six problem sets, five quizzes, a midterm exam and a final exam. The problem sets will require a combination of written exercises and programming. The exercises will involve the design and analysis of algorithms and will require mathematical analysis. The programming exercises will be done in Matlab. Most problem sets will be due approximately one week after they have been assigned. Follow the guidelines at the beginning of each assignment when submitting your problem set. Due dates for the problem sets will be announced in class. There will be a late penalty of 10% for homework handed in up to 24 hours late. No homeworks will be accepted more than 24 hours late. Exceptions may be made in unusual, as deemed so by the instructor, circumstances with permission from the instructor.

Each week there will be a short quiz over the material that we have covered during the week. This will help you to learn the material as we go along and to help you prepare for the midterm and final. Missed quizzes may be made-up with the permission of the instructor, but only if you were absent for a compelling reason. The lowest of quiz scores will be dropped.

Midterm & Final Exams

Both the midterm and final exams will cover material from lecture, section, problem sets, quizzes and the underlying mathematics with an emphasis on the three guiding principles on numerical analysts. You are not responsible for portions of the text that were not covered in lecture, section or the homework.

There will be a midterm exam on July 25. It will cover the first three weeks of the course. It will be closed-book and 75 minutes long. A make-up midterm exam will be given to any student who is absent from the midterm exam for a compelling reason and gets permission from the instructor.

The final exam will cumulative. The final will either be:
(Final Exam Option #1) held on Monday, August 18, in class from 1:00p-3:00p. Note that this is a 2-hour, in-class, closed-notes, closed-book exam, though some equations will be provided. With this option homework 6 will cover initial value problems (IVP), will be given out Friday, August 8 and be due Friday, August 15.
(Final Exam Option #2) a take-home exam given out on August 8 and due on August 18, on which you will be allowed to work with a partner, but which will be between 1 and 2 times harder than a homework and have more questions than a homework. If this option is taken then any questions covering initial value problems will serve as the last homework. To be clear, questions concerning IVP will be clearly denoted as such questions and will count not only as part of the final, but serve doubly as the last homework.

I will make only one final exam for the class to take, so it is necessary for you to organize yourselves and decide, as a class, which Option will be given. If no decision has been given to me by the midterm exam, I will choose.


This course will be offered on a letter-grade or S/U basis. Students will receive 3 hours of credit for the course. Grades will be determined according to the following table:



Problem Sets 30%
Quizzes 20%
Midterm 20%
Final Exam 30%

Class Schedule

This calender shows a week-by-week syllabus. The dates and order of topics are subject to change by the instructor. Any significant changes will be announced in class.

Course Website

Computing Facilities

MATLAB 6 is available in the CIT public labs in Upson, Carpenter and Dickson. The student edition of MATLAB is available at the Cornell store.

Academic Integrity

Groups may work together to the extent of formulating ideas, but each individual must hand in his/her own paper and the paper must not represent someone else's ideas entirely. No collaboration of any kind is allowed on quizzes or exams, unless specified.

Students are permitted to consult outside published material for the homework, although it will be fully based on lecture notes and the textbook. If a student consults any other reference, he/she must cite the reference. Failure to cite it will be considered cheating.

The penalty for cheating will be an F for the course, following a hearing with the instructor as spelled out in the academic integrity manual. In extreme circumstances the instructor will in addition bring the case before the university's academic integrity board.

Jaime H. Barrera, Center for Applied Mathematics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853,

Written 7/9/03