Beginning Scientific Computing

Class Schedule: MWThF 2:20-3:20pm

Venue: LOW 216

Instructor: Xiaofeng Ye

Lewis Hall 114

yexf308 [at] uw.edu

Instructor Office hour: 10:00-10:50am Thursday in LEW 129


TA: Brisa Davis  bndavis@uw.edu

TA Office hours:

10:30 am - 12:00 pm every Tuesday in ICL B027 (Computer Lab on the Basement of Communication Building)
3:30 pm - 5:30 pm every Wednesday in LEW 129 (Room capacity is about 10)
11:00 am - 1:00 pm every Thursday in LEW 129 (This is also online office hour session, we will use gotomeeting system.)
Please bring your own laptop to office hours in LEW 129. You may use ICL B027/B022 (art and science lab) to do Homework as well. 

Online Office hour

The online office hour will be 11:00am-1:00pm every Thursday starting from the first week. We will use the Gotomeeting system. This is only for students in session B. 

1.  Please join my meeting.


2. You will be connected to audio using your computer's microphone and speakers (VoIP).  

Meeting ID: 948-810-565


Course Description

This course will provide an introduction to the use of computers to solve problems arising in the physical, biological, and engineering sciences. Various computational approaches commonly used to solve mathematical problems (including systems of linear equations, curve fitting, integration, and differential equations) will be presented. Both the theory and application of each numerical method will be demonstrated.  The student will gain mathematical judgment in selecting tools to solve scientific problems through in-class examples and programming homework assignments. MATLAB will be used as the primary environment for numerical computation. An overview of MATLAB's syntax, code structure, and algorithms will be given.  Although the subject matter of Scientific Computing has many aspects that can be made rather difficult, the material in this course is an introduction to the field and will be presented in a simple as possible way. Theoretical aspects will be mentioned throught the course, but more complicated issues such as proofs of relevant theorems/schemes will not be presented. Applications will be emphasized.


MATH 125 or MATH 135

But Linear Algebra (MATH308) and Differential equation (MATH307) knowledge are highly recommended. 

You will have to work extremely hard if you have no idea about MATRIX. 


  1. Root Finding (1 week)
  2. Linear Systems (1.5 week) 
  3. Data fitting and interpolation (1.5 week)
  4. Numerical differentiation and integration (1.5 week) 
  5. Ordinary Differential Equations (1.5 week)


Class Video link

This class is an edge class. It is video-taped and recorded. You can either watch on live or download the video to watch later. But physically attending the class is highly recommended. 


The link of class video is under this moodle page:




Adobe Acrobat file icon scicomp301.pdf3.4M Download View This is a free copy of textbook for amath 301


Homework 60%, total 5 homework sets. Each homework score will count to your final score. 

Exam I 20% July 24th in class. 60mins. Exam review on July 22nd. 

Exam II 20%, August 23rd in class. 70mins.

Extra Credit at most 3% 

You are expected to get at least 60% of total grade in order to pass this class.



Homework Submission


Homework will be assigned roughly bi-weekly.  Homework will be submitted and graded on-line. You have up to five (5) attempts per homework to get everything correct. If everything is correct the first time a homework is submitted, you will receive a 100% for that homework. If something is not correct, then you may fix it and resubmit. Your best score for each homework will be your recorded grade (i.e. there is no penalty for correcting and resubmitting). 

Note that Scorelator checks your answers and compares (anti-cheat) your code against the codes of others in your section, in the other section,  and all past years. Also, note that 5 attempts is not very many to get everything exactly correct, so DO NOT use Scorelator as a debugger.  Make sure your code runs all the way through before submitting it.  Finally, assignments must be submitted to Scorelator through Firefox or Internet Explorer (NOT Safari).  Additionally, assignments cannot be submitted to Scorelator on the ASLAB terminal server.

You will submit homework at the following link: www.compsoftbook.com There is a $20 required fee for Scorelator and its associated computational notebook.  It will be announced in class when this fee must be paid at the site above.  The link above is for Scorelator.  You must be registered to the service with your u.washington.edu email and this will be done by your instructor usually after the first week of class  if you have registered before the beginning of the quarter.

If you do not get an email from Scorelator (Spammed/Filtered) go to the Scorelator site, preferably with Firefox, and press forgot my password and it will send you a new one.

If you have registered after the beginning of the quarter and the procedure above does not work for you, send your instructor an email and he/she will add you to the system.

Homework will generally be due on a biweekly basis. Homework and office hours are assigned and scheduled with the expectation that you should be able to finish your homework before the submission deadline.


MATLAB access on and off campus


There is MATLAB access at the ICL lab on campus in the Communications building room B022. You can also access this lab remotely by following the directions here.

NOTE: the ICL only has licenses for 40 simultaneous MATLAB users.  Thus, on high volume nights, like the night the homework is due, the terminal may be busy for hours at a time.  Please plan ahead or use the computer labs in your own engineering department if you have access to them.

A student version of MATLAB can be purchased from the University Bookstore or online at Mathworks.com for $100.


Course evaluation
Aug 20, 2013 11:01 AM
If you haven't done course evaluation, please fill out this form. Here is the link: http://moodle..​.
Exam II
Aug 19, 2013 10:45 PM
Exam will be on Friday 2:20pm-3:30pm. For session B students, please contact Edge office.
Extra GoToMeeting office hours on Wednesday
Aug 18, 2013 6:27 PM
There will be GoToMeeting office hours during the regular Wednesday office hours. The meeting ID ...
Last chance for HW1-4
Aug 15, 2013 4:16 PM
If you want to have the last chance for HW1-4, please email me before Aug 21st.
Deadline for cody challenge
Aug 15, 2013 10:07 AM
Please take a screen shot of your achievement and send it to me by email before 11:59:59pm Aug 21st.
Homework 5 is up now
Aug 7, 2013 11:49 AM
Due on Aug 21st. This is the last HW and the most difficult one. Please start as early as possible.
GoToMeeting ID changed
Aug 1, 2013 12:16 PM
The URL for joining the GoToMeeting has been updated to reflect the new meeting ID.
Homework 4 is up
Jul 29, 2013 12:29 PM
Due on August 9th.
Office Hour this week
Jul 22, 2013 1:55 PM
Wed office hours will be canceled. Brisa will have TA office hour on Friday 12:30pm-2:00pm in Lew...
Exam Rule
Jul 22, 2013 12:13 AM
This will be a traditional exam. Bring your pen/pencil. NO Calculator/Comp​uter/notes. Please take...
Exam I
Jul 22, 2013 12:12 AM
Exam I will be on July 24th class time. For online students, please contact edge offices(edgemat​l...
Homework 3
Jul 15, 2013 10:21 PM
Homework 3 is up and the due day is July 29th.
Deadline of Homework 2 is extended
Jul 5, 2013 12:44 PM
Deadline extended to July 15th (Mon)
Problem 1 in HW2
Jul 4, 2013 11:38 PM
You are not allowed to use MATLAB commands that are not covered in class up to now.
extra credit problem
Jul 3, 2013 9:48 AM
I posted extra credit problem under the tab of Homework
Move next Friday class to Wednesday
Jun 29, 2013 7:34 PM
We will have two hour class on Wednesday from 2:20pm-3:20pm and 3:30pm-4:30pm. I will cancel Frid...
Compsoftbook is up now
Jun 26, 2013 4:16 PM
Everyone should receive an account with password. If you register the class after Wed, please ema...
Jun 24, 2013 5:32 PM
the online grader system-compsoft​book is not yet set up. Please wait until Thursday.
Send questions about this workspace to XIAOFENG YE.