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Physics 20: Introduction to Tools of Scientific Computing

Course Description

  • 6 units (0-6-0)
  • Prerequisites: CS 1 or equivalent experience with computers
  • Offered first, second and third terms
  • Ground rules

Topics covered

  • Introduction to tools for scientific computing. Introduction to python. Programming of numerical methods with applications to problems in classical mechanics. Numerical integration, root-finding, and numerical simulation of differential equations of motion. Use of Mathematica for numerical work. Unix tools including version control and makefiles.

Reading and assignments

Assignments and reading lists are posted here.

Due dates may be changed by TAs

Week of... Reading list Assignment Due date
Sep 30 2019 See wiki 20.1: Introduction to Python Fri Oct 11 (1.5 wk)
Oct 7 See wiki 20.2: Unix Tools: Shell, Version Control, Makefiles Fri Oct 25 (2 wk)
Oct 21 See wiki 20.3: Introduction to Numerical Techniques Fri Nov 1 (1 wks)
Oct 28 See wiki 20.4: Numerical Techniques (cont): Differential Equations Fri Nov 15 (2 wks)
Nov 11 See wiki 20.5: Introduction to Symbolic Computing in Mathematica Fri Nov 22 (1 week)
Nov 25 See wiki 20.6: Numerical Computation in Mathematica Mon Dec 2 (1.5 wks)
Dec 2 20.7: Linear and nonlinear regression Mon Dec 9 (1 wk)

All assignments are due by 11:59pm on due date unless otherwise specified



Lab Manager: Chris Mach 103-33, x2299 cmach{at}alice{dot}caltech{dot}edu
Professor: Alan Weinstein ajw{at}caltech{dot}edu
Teaching Assistant: Chris Pattison cpattiso{at}caltech{dot}edu
Teaching Assistant: Xuejian (Jacob) Shen xshen{at}caltech{dot}edu


Tuesday 2-5 PM Xuejian (Jacob) Shen
Thursday 2-5 PM Chris Pattison

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