Physics 265
Introductory Scientific Computing

Physics Department, Oregon State University, Fall 2006


David McIntyre

Contact (welcome)

Weniger 463


Office Hours

MF 10-11, W 9-10

Teaching Assistant:

Zlatko Dimcovic


M 2:00 pm

Weniger 149A

Sample Midterm


W, F 2:00 pm

Weniger 412


Midterm: Fri 20 October 2:00 pm

Final: Wed 6 December, 12:00 pm

Wngr 149A (same as lec)

Class Links:

Unix Tutorial

Syllabus (HW)

Review Sheet

SSH info

Description: A course designed to provide freshmen and sophomores with the basic computational tools and techniques needed for their study in science and engineering. Students learn by doing projects that solve problems in physical sciences and mathematics using symbolic and compiled languages with vizualization. By use of the Maple problem-solving environment and the Java programming language, the students learn programming and numerical analysis in parallel with scientific problem solving.
Prerequisites: Basic computer literacy (word processing, electronic mail, menus, mouse, Web browsing), MTH 251 (corequisite). Some examples drawn from physics, but knowledge of that physics not assumed.
Grade: Based on quality and completeness of the following components:
  • Weekly assignments (50%)
  • Midterm exam (20%)
  • Final exam (20%)
  • Class & lab participation (10%)

  Students are encouraged to discuss assignments with instructors and other students. However, when an assignment is submitted, the understanding is that this is the student's own work and that the student is able and willing to explain it to the Professor if asked.

Warning: Handing in another student's assignment (either in original or modified form) is academic dishonesty and will result in an F grade for the entire course.
Required: R. Landau,  A First Course in Scientific Computing, Princeton University Press (2005).
Optional: R. Davies, Introductory Java for Scientists and Engineers, Addison-Wesley (1999).
Optional: Chapman, Java for Scientists and Engineers, Prentice Hall (2000).
More Optional: R. Landau & P. Fink, A Scientist's and Engineer's Guide to Workstations (Unix Survival Guide),  John Wiley (1992).
Computational Physics Lab
You will be given access to the Physics workstation computer cluster in Weniger 412. You can use these or other computers for the course. Entrance at nonclass times is possible with a magnetic key card purchased from the Physics Department Office (Weniger 301). You are permitted to use the lab whenever it is not being used by another class and during the hours that Weniger Hall is open.

Useful Links

Partial support for the development of this course is provided by the National Science Foundation and its National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI), and NACSE.
David H. McIntyre
Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon