MATH 344 (04724), Winter 2009

Numerical Methods for Civil and Mechanical Engineers

Catalog Description:
The fundamentals of numerical methods for civil and mechanical engineering students. Topics include: approximation and interpolation, numerical solution to equations, numerical differentiation and integration, numerical solutions to differential equations, solutions of systems of equations, and finding eigenvalues. The topics will be posed in a setting of problems intended for civil and mechanical engineering students using MATLAB.
Desired Learning Outcomes:
The ability to use MATLAB to solve common engineering problems, and in particular solve systems of nonlinear algebraic equations using Newton-Raphson, and solve initial value ODEs. The ability to define issues such as convergence, stability, computational cost, and error propagation as they apply to numerical integration and differentiation.
MATH 340.
Martin J. Mohlenkamp,, (740)593-1259, 315-B Morton Hall.
Office hours: Monday 1-2pm, Tuesday 1-2pm, Thursday 1-2pm, and Friday 9-10am.
Web page:
Class hours/ location:
MTuThF 8:10-9am in 314 Morton Hall.
Introduction to Numerical Methods and Matlab Programming: Class Notes for MATH 344, Todd Young and Martin Mohlenkamp, 2008. Available at
There will be weekly problem sets. These are group homeworks, to be done in groups of 2 or 3.
Good Problems:
On each problem set, one problem is designated a Good Problem. These problems will be graded both on content and on presentation. The idea is to practice writing mathematics regularly but in small pieces.
There will be three mid-term tests, in class, without the aid of the computer.
Final Exam:
The final exam is on Friday, March 20, at 10:10am.
The homework is worth 50%, each test 10% and the final exam 20%. An average of 90% guarantees you at least an A-, 80% a B-, 70% a C-, and 60% a D-.
Late work:
Late homework sets are penalized 5% for each 24 hour period or part thereof, excluding weekends and holidays. You can resubmit a homework set to improve your score, but the late penalty will apply.
Attendance is assumed but is not counted in your grade. However, you should estimate that for each class you miss your average will decrease by one point due to the learning you missed. It is your responsibility to find out any announcements made in class.
Academic Dishonesty:
If your group receives any help on the homework, you must acknowledge in writing what help you received and from whom. It is permitted to have a student who has already taken this course explain a homework problem to you; however, it is not permitted to look at their written work or programs. The tests and final exam must be your own work, and without the aid of notes, etc. Dishonesty will result in a zero on that work, and possible failure in the class and a report to the university judiciaries.
Special Needs:
If you have specific physical, psychiatric, or learning disabilities and require accommodations, please let me know as soon as possible so that your learning needs may be appropriately met.
Learning Resources:
  • Your classmates are your best resource. Use them!
  • The Academic Advancement Center's Math Center has drop-in help, tutors, online help, and a telephone hotline.
  • MATLAB and Latex links
  • Schedule

    Subject to change.
    Week Date Lecture/Materials Homework/Test etc.
    1 January 5 Introduction, Front matter, lecture 1
    January 6 lecture 2
    January 8 lecture 3
    January 9 lecture 4
    2 January 12 lecture 5; mybisect.m Homework 1 from lectures 1, 2, and 3, and Good Problem Mathematical Autobiography using Layout
    January 13 lecture 7 and part I review
    January 15 lecture 8
    January 16 lecture 9 Homework 2 from lectures 4, 5 and 7; do problem 5.2 as a Good Problem using Flow
    3 January 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Day, no class
    January 20 lecture 10 (drop deadline)
    January 22 part I study guide Test on Part I (lectures 1-5 and 7)
    January 23 lecture 11
    4 January 26 lecture 12
    January 27 lecture 13
    January 29 lecture 14 Homework 3 from lectures 8-12; do problem 10.1 as a Good Problem using Symbols
    January 30 lecture 15
    5 February 2 lecture 16; part II review (in lecture 18)
    February 3 lecture 19
    February 5 lecture 20 Homework 4 from lectures 13-16; do problem 15.1 as a Good Problem.
    February 6 lecture 21
    6 February 9 part II study guide Test on Part II (lectures 8-16) (drop deadline with WP/WF)
    February 10 lecture 22
    February 12 lecture 23; mywedge.m; mywasher.m
    February 13 lecture 24; mylowerleft.m
    7 February 16 lecture 25; mywedge.m Homework 5 from lectures 19-23; do problem 20.2 as a Good Problem using Graphs
    February 17 lecture 27
    February 19 lecture 28 and part III review
    February 20 lecture 29
    8 February 23 lecture 30; myeuler.m; mymodeuler.m Homework 6 from lectures 24-25, 27 and 28; do problem 27.1 as a Good Problem using Intros
    February 24 lecture 31
    February 26 part III study guide Test on Part III (lectures 19-25, 27, and 28)
    February 27 lecture 33; myexactbeam.m
    9 March 2 lecture 34; myheatdisk.m
    March 3 lecture 35; myheat.m
    March 5 lecture 36 Homework 7 from lectures 29-31,33,34; do problem 29.1 as a Good Problem using Logic
    March 6 lecture 37
    10 March 9 lecture 38; mypoisson.m
    March 10 lecture 39; mywasher.m
    March 12 lecture 40 and Part IV review; myfiniteelem.m
    March 13 Review, part IV study guide Homework 8 from lectures 35-39; do problem 36.1 as a Good Problem
    11 March 20 Final Exam Friday at 10:10 am., in our classroom.

    Martin J. Mohlenkamp
    Last modified: Fri Sep 3 13:54:41 EDT 2010