Isc3222 syllabus

( Overview | Syllabus | Schedule | Lectures | Assignments | Project | Code | Misc)

Symbolic and Numerical Computations

ISC 3222, 3 Credits, Fall 2018

(printed August 24 2018)

Instructor: Dr. Peter Beerli

Department of Scientific Computing

489 Dirac Science Library
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4120
Phone: 850-559-9664

Lectures: Room 499, Dirac Science Library

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9:00-9:50AM

Office Hours: 10:00-11:00AM, Monday (Marjan), Wednesday (Tara), and Friday (Peter), or by appointment

Labs: Room 499, Dirac Science Library, when needed


None required, but we will use several texts from the internet.

Prerequisites: Calculus I and II. (or talk to Peter Beerli)


This course introduces state-of-the-art software environments, theoretical foundations, and practical applications of solving scientific and engineering problems. Topics include solving simple problems in algebra and calculus, two-dimensional and three-dimensional graphics, function fitting and root finding, basics of scientific programming, and methods for finding numerical solutions to differential equations with applications to scientific and engineering problems.

Homework and Lab Assignments:

Homework and lab assignments will count 40% toward the final grade. Computer labs will be arranged about every two weeks. An assignment will be given in each lab and due about one week later. While small groups are encouraged in the lab to complete assignments, each student must write and submit his/her own report for each lab assignment. Late turn-in of homework and lab reports will be penalized according to the late turn-in policy.

Mid-term Exam and Final Project:

The mid-term is scheduled on 10/19/2018 (Friday) and will count 20% toward the final grade. The final project will be assigned on 10/22/2018 (Monday) and due on 12/14/2017 (Friday). Small groups consisting of two students are allowed to complete the final project and write a group report. Each group need to give a 10-minute presentation for their project in the weeks of 11/26/2017 and 12/3/2017. The final project will count 30% toward the final grade.


Students are expected to arrive on time and attend all lectures and exams. Neither make-up lectures nor make-up exams will be given without permission of the instructor except serious medical or personal emergencies with documented proof. Students are expected to actively engage in discussions in both the lectures and class presentations. Questions in class and office hour are encouraged.


Several quizzes will be given and students will be notified before the quizzes are given. Each quiz will consists of 3 – 5 simple questions designed for students’ attendance and attention. The quiz will count 10% toward the final grade.


In earlier years we used MATLAB and Mathematica. This year we will be heavily dependent on MATLAB/OCTAVE and Sage (which is a free symbolic program based on Python and Scipy.

MATLAB/OCTAVE and SAGE are available on classroom computers and department computers at the fourth floor of the Dirac Science Library. Students can purchase the student versions at their own expense.

Grading Policy: Final grades will be assigned according to the following schedule. A plus/minus system may be employed at the instructors discretion. The instructor may also elect to employ a curve that favors the students.

Grade Semester average

A- to A 90 to 100

B- to B+ 80 to 89

C- to C+ 70 to 79

D- to D+ 60 to 69

F Below 60

Final grades will be computed as follows:

Quiz 10%, Midterm 20%, Final Project 30%, and Assignments 40%

Syllabus Change: The syllabus is tentative and course schedule of topics, homework and lab assignments, and reading assignments may be subject to change depending on course progress. Dates of midterm and final exams are fixed, except under very unusual circumstances. Students will be provided with an updated syllabus if significant changes are necessary.

University Attendance Policy: Excused absences include documented illness, deaths in the family and other documented crises, call to active military duty or jury duty, religious holy days, and official University activities. These absences will be accommodated in a way that does not arbitrarily penalize students who have a valid excuse. Consideration will also be given to students whose dependent children experience serious illness.

Late Turn-in Policy: Except with permission from the instructor, late turn-in will be punished by taking, per day of late turn-in, 10% of total score out of the final score. For example, assuming that the total score is 50 points and you are late for two-day, although your score based on your answers is 40 points, your final score will be 40 – 0.1 x 50 x 2 = 30. After three days of late turn-in, your score will be zero regardless of the total score. You are allowed to have one late turn-in without penalty during the semester.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:  Reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities may be arranged by contacting the instructor of this course on an individual basis.  Those requiring accommodations due to disabilities should 1) register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) and 2) bring a letter to the instructor from SDRC indicating the need for academic accommodations.  This should be done within the first week of class.  This syllabus can be made available in an alternate format upon request. For more information about services available to FSU students with disabilities, contact the

Student Disability Resource Center
Dean of Students Department
08 Kellum Hall
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4400
(850) 644-9566 (voice)
(850) 644-8504 (TDD)

Academic Honor Code: The Florida State University Academic Honor Policy outlines the University expectations for the integrity of student academic work, the procedures for resolving alleged violations of those expectations, and the rights and responsibilities of students and faculty members throughout the process. Students are responsible for reading the Academic Honor Policy and for living up to their pledge to be honest and truthful and to strive for personal and institutional integrity at Florida State University. (Florida State University Academic Honor Policy, found at

Schedule: (overview; the labs are tentative, and the schedule for the presentations may need an extension)

Week Lecture Topics

Introduction of numerical and symbolic computations.

Introduction to MATLAB/Octave.


Interactive computing with MATLAB/Octave

Homework 1: MATLAB/OCTAVE basics

Lab 1: Hot keys of MATLAB/OCTAVE (Labor Day, No Class)

3 MATLAB/OCTAVE programming: Basics

MATLAB/OCTAVE Programming: Basics, style and debugging

Homework 2: MATLAB/OCTAVE programming

Lab 2: MATLAB/OCTAVE for groundwater modeling

5 Errors in numerical computation

Errors in numerical computation

Numerical computation: Solving system of equations


Numerical computation: Finding the root

Lab 3: Numerical error


Numerical computation: Finding the root

Oct 19, mid-term exam


Numerical computation: Finding the root

Lab 4: Finding roots


Introduction to symbolic computing

Oct 22, Assignment of final project

Lab 5: Sage basics


Sage Basics and Files

Lab 6: Sage files


Functional programming

Nov 12: Veterans Day Holiday, No Class

13 Pattern and rule-based programming

Graphics and plots

Nov 21 and 23: Thanksgiving, No Class


Statistics and data analysis

Nov 30 and Dec 7: Final project presentations

16 Final Exam Week. Final project report due on 12/14.