Physics 410: Computational Physics (Fall 2005) 
COURSE HOME PAGE (this page): http://laplace.physics.ubc.ca/410/ 
Instructor: Matthew (Matt) W. Choptuik  Other
Personnel (Bruno, Jason and Ben) 
Office: Hennings 403  Office Hours: Dropin (appointment preferred) 
Office Phone: 8222412  Home Phone: 2229424 
Email: choptuik@physics.ubc.ca  Web page: http://laplace.physics.ubc.ca/People/matt/index.html 
SCHEDULE: TUESDAY & THURSDAY, 10:0011:20 AM  HENNINGS 318 
COURSE LINKS

This course will provide an introduction to techniques and applications in computational physics. Topics to be covered include: Unix fundamentals, including basic shell programming; symbolic & numeric computation and programming with Maple; scientific programming using Fortran 77; solution of linear systems; basic numerical analysis for continuum systems; solution of ordinary differential equations. There will be a significant programming component in virtually all stages of the course: tutorial sessions with the instructor can be arranged for those of you desiring additional help with programming. See below for a concise syllabus and the Course Topics page for a slightly more detailed description of course coverage. 
Due to the significant diversity in topics to be covered, there is no required text for the course. For testing purposes, you will be responsible only for material covered in lectures and homework assignments. I will distribute some class notes when appropriate, but you will also be responsible for taking notes in class. The optional text, Numerical Recipes (2nd edition), by Press et al is particularly recommended for those of you who anticipate doing further numerical work. Note, however, that the full text of the book is available online. Also note that there are distinct Fortran 77 and C versions of the book: choose the one which you feel will suit you best. See the Suggested References page for texts and other references pertinent to the course, and the Course Resources web page for a collection of online reference/instructional material. 
Your
mark in this course will be
determined on the basis of your
performance on five homework assignments, a term project,
and two testsa midterm and a finalwith the following weighting:

There
will be two onehour
tests: one inclass and one in the
final exam period:
Except under extremely extenuating circumstances there will be NO makeup tests 
See
the syllabus below for
scheduled homework due dates. Homework will be assigned at least a
week before it is due;
late
homework may be accepted at the instructor's discretion, and as
per the Late Homework Policy described below. As the course
progresses, the Homework Schedule web page
will contain information concerning current and past assignments.
Each homework will contribute roughly equal weight to your final mark but I will discount your worst mark. 
Either
individually or in
consultation with the instructor, each
student must choose a topic for a term project in
some area of computational physics. A final list of suggested topics
will be posted by Thursday, September 22 and a onepage outline of
your selected project is due Thursday, October 20 at the latest.
You are encouraged to develop your own project ideas, but all project topics must be approved by the instructor. Please note that the onepage precis must be submitted in addition to the final paper, and that the outline will not graded nor otherwise evaluated in the normal case. It serves the purpose of ensuring that every student has selected an appropriate project and is fully cognizant of the major components of work that must be performed for the project to be successfully completed. Even if the bulk of the project involves programming, a 1 paper describing the project must be prepared in the style of a technical paper or a scientific essay (ask now if you are unsure of what that means!), and hardcopy of your paper MUST be submitted to the instructor, in class, in person, or via the instructor's mailbox in the Physics and Astronomy main office. You are free to submit preliminary drafts of your paper to the instructor for critique; such preassessment will not affect your final grade on the paper. You are encouraged to use LaTeX (or TeX) mathematical typesetting software to prepare your papers. Suggested paper length is 1520 pages double spaced, including figures, graphs and source code listings. Note that the project need not involve programming: for example, a critical essay on the impact of computation on a particular subfield of physics is a viable option, provided that the student can convince the instructor that she/he has sufficient programming expertise and experience for the usual programming requirement to be waived. Term projects are due on December 1 (the last class day). Late projects will be accepted at the instructor's discretion. and as per the Late Work Policy described below. Term project code (including graphical code) must run on the course Linux machines in Hennings 205, and, in particular, cannot be MSWindows specific. 
From time to time, work may be submitted late, subject to the following conditions:
Note that all messages are to be sent to the instructor, not the TA, and that if you finish the homework on time, no additional action on your part is required. 
All students must understand and abide by the following homework policy: Consultation and collaboration with classmates is permitted. HOWEVER, ALL HOMEWORK SUBMITTED MUST BE YOUR OWN WORK. To be more specific, the following occurrences (not an exhaustive list) WILL be treated as possible cases of academic misconduct. (I assume in the following that cheating is fundamentally a twoperson interaction; let X and Y be two students)
The University takes this form of academic misconduct very seriously, and so do I. All strong evidence of cheating is therefore reported to, and dealt with through, the Head of the Department. Unfortunately because there have been instances where there was strong evidence of cheating in previous offerings of this course, all students must now signoff on a homework policy statement, which ensures that all are aware of the policy and the potential consequences should it be violated. 
All students will be provided with an account for use in the Physics & Astronomy Computer Lab currently located in Hennings 205. You will also be given an account on the Linux Lab machines, which you will use for the majority of your homework assignments and, if you wish, your term projects. As the course progresses, and should your term project require it, you will also be given access to the Beowulf Pentium III/Linux cluster, vn.physics.ubc.ca. 
As mentioned above, individual or smallgroup tutorial sessions may be arranged at mutually agreeable times for those of you who require additional help, particularly with the programming aspects of the course. Although I will try to detect when supplementary instruction is required, please contact me (email preferred) if and when you think you could use a session or two. 
You should also feel free to contact me via email (preferred) or phone if you have quick questions, or if you are having difficulty getting something to work. Perhaps most importantly, you should strive to develop the ability to make effective use of the available documentation for the software you are using (online help, man pages, Web resources, etc.). Online help tends to be extensive these days and a little time invested in learning how to extract the information you are looking for usually pays off. 
Tuesday  Thursday 

September
6 Unix 
September
8 Unix 
September
13 Unix 
September
15 Unix 
September
20 Unix 
September
22 Maple [H1 due] 
September
27 Maple 
September
29 Maple 
October
4 Maple 
October
6 Maple 
October
11 Fortran 
October
13 Fortran [H2 due] 
October
18 Fortran 
October
20 Fortran [Project outlines due] 
October
25 Linear Systems 
October
27 Linear Systems 
November
1 [Linear Systems 
November
3 MIDTERM 
November
8 Linear Systems 
November
10 Solution of ODEs 
November
15 Solution of ODEs 
November
17 Solution of ODEs [H3 due] 
November
22 Solution of ODEs [H4 due] 
November
24 Solution of ODEs 
November
29 Nonlinear Equations 
December
1 Nonlinear Equations [HW5 & Term Projects due] 


See the UBC 2005/2006 Calendar, Academic Year, PHYS Exam Schedule, Exam Schedule pages for more information 
Maintained by choptuik@physics.ubc.ca. Supported by CIAR, NSERC, CFI, BCKDF and UBC 