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Computational Physics

Computational Physics

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Computational PhysicsCourse Description
The use of computers in physics, as well as most other branches of science and engineering, has increasedmany times along with the rapid development of faster and cheaper hardware. This course aims to give thestudent a thorough grounding in the main computational techniques used in modern physics. It is particu-larly important in this course that the students should
learn by doing.
The course is therefore designed suchthat a significant fraction of the studentstime is spent actually programming specific physical problemsrather than learning abstract techniques.The course will cover problems in 5 broad sections:
Ordinary differential equations, such as those of classical mechanics.
Partial differential equations, such as Maxwell’s equations and the Diffusion and Schr¨odinger equa-tions.
Matrix methods, such as systems of equations and eigenvalue problems applied to Poisson’s equationand electronic structure calculations.
Monte Carlo and other simulation methods, such as the Metropolis algorithm and molecular dynam-ics.
ComputerAlgebra; anintroductionusing
 Mathematica
totheusesandabusesofalgebraiccomputingin physics.This is
not
a short course in computing science, nor in programming. It focuses specifically on methodsfor solving physics problems. Students will be expected to be familiar with basic programming: successfulcompletion of the 1st year computing Lab. is sufficient. There is no requirement that the practical work bedone using Microsoft C++ on the departmental computers, but anyone wishing to use some other program-ming language or computer should consult the lecturer beforehand. This is to make sure there is both helpavailable from demonstrators and that it will be possible to assess the work satisfactorily.For most weeks of the term there will be 2 timetabled sessions in the computing Lab., room 319, onTuesday afternoons, with a lecture at 9.00am on Thursdays in the lecture theatre, LT3. From 2.00pm to5.00pm on Tuesdays there will be demonstrators available in the Lab. During this period the Lab. facilitieswill be reserved for those taking part in this course.On the 10th October and again on the 17th there will be a Lecture at 2.00pm and the Lab session willstart at 3.00pm.Each of the 5 sections of the course will be accompanied by a short problem sheet including practicalexercises and longer projects.Students will be expected to do the first project and 2 of the others.During this session we will be experimenting with electronic submission of programs. This will en-able the assessors to check and run your program if necessary. The program(s) and any output files,which would appear as appendices in the report should still be included in your report but, in addition,should be sent as plain text e-mail attachment(s)
1
to
Computational-Physics, A. MacKinnon
1
Using Outlook click Insert then File
1
 
or
ph.compphys@ic.ac.uk
by the stated deadline. Do
not
send it to my personal e-mail address. Thefirst project is to be handed in to Martin Morris in the Computing Lab by 5.00pm on the 23rd October.These will be assessed and returned by the demonstrators who should provide the students with feedback which will be of use in the longer projects later on. This project will count for
10%
of the final result.During the Lab. sessions staff and demonstrators will be available in room 319, but the students areexpected to do the practical work and the problems outside these times as well. I am aware that there is anInstrumentation lecture scheduled for 3.00pm on Tuesdays. Nevertheless the Lab. will be reserved for thiscourse for the whole afternoon and demonstrators will be available during this period.The report on the 2nd project, which should be chosen from the 2 offered on Partial Differential Equa-tions, should be submitted by 5.00pm on November 20th.The 3rd project may be chosen from those offered on Matrix and Monte Carlo methods or on ComputerAlgebra and the report should be submitted by 5.00pm on Monday December 18th. This is after the lastday of term, so you might like to set your own deadline earlier than this.This timetable has been designed to make sure that students are working at a steady rate during theterm.On the Thursday afternoon of the first week of the 2nd term, 11th January 2001, there will be a shortwritten test under exam conditions. This will count for
30%
of the final result. The 2nd and 3rd projectswill also count for
30%
.Thus the distribution of marks for the various parts of the course will be approximately
Project 1 10Project 2 30Project 3 30Test 30
There will be no examination in the summer.Further information is available on the World Wide Web under
http://www.sst.ph.ic.ac.uk/angus/Lectures/compphys/ 
.
 
Computational PhysicsTimetable of Lectures and Projects
Lecture and Practical Timetable
Week Mon. 5.00pm Tue. 2.00-3.00pm Tue. 3.00–5.00pm Thu. 9.00-10.00am
Oct. 2 LectureOct. 9 Lecture Practical LectureOct. 16 Lecture Practical LectureOct. 23 ODE project deadline Practical Practical LectureOct. 30 Practical Practical LectureNov. 6 Practical Practical LectureNov. 13 Practical Practical LectureNov. 20 PDE project deadline Practical Practical LectureNov. 27 Practical Practical LectureDec. 4 Practical Practical LectureDec. 11 Practical PracticalDec. 18 Final project deadline
Test
There will be a test under examination conditions on Thursday January 11th 2001 from 4.00pm - 5.00pm.For those with surnames beginning with A–K the test will be in lecture theatre 2 and for those with sur-names beginning with L–Z in lecture theatre 3.3

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