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Math 426 – Introduction to Mathematical Software Packages: Matlab

Summer 2009 – Philip C. Nelson

Basic Information and Policies

  • Instructor:
    Philip Nelson
    MP201, 410-455-3174,,
    Office Hours: MW 5:00-5:50pm
  • Time and location of classes: MW 6:00pm- 9:10pm at ENGR104
  • Web Page:
  • Prerequisites: A grade of C or better in Math 152, Math 221, and CMSC 201, or instructor approval.
  • Recommended Textbook: Desmond J. Higham and Nicholas J. Higham, Matlab Guide, second edition, SIAM, 2005.
  • Grading policy: Your grade in this course will be based on your performance in the computational/programming assignments which you will be doing in this course. You will do eight assignments, from which the seven best scores will be counted.
    Letter grades for the course will be decided using the following:

    Score above 90% 80% 65% 50% otherwise
    Letter grade A B C D F

    Please note that the syllabus can change throughout the semester, and such changes will be announced.

  • Attendance Policy: Your presence at the lectures are required to receive the most hands-on training in MATLab. To enforce this, only one absence will be excused unless you provide credible documentation to the instructor within 24-hours of the lecture you missed. Every unexcused absence thereafter will result in 5% being taken off your final grade.
  • Late Homework Policy: An assignment given in class is due in the subsequent lecture unless the due date is changed by the instructor. Late homework will receive a 15% penalty per day until I receive it. Furthermore, current homework will not receive full credit until all late homeworks prior are turned in.

Learning Goals

Upon completion of this class you should

  • be able to use Matlab’s extensive linear algebra capabilities,
  • be able to program in Matlab efficiently,
  • be aware of the flexible file I/O capabilities provided in Matlab,
  • know how to utilize the extensive 2D and 3D graphics capabilities in Matlab,
  • know how to use Matlab specific programming features such as logical subscripting and vectorization,
  • be aware of the great number of built-in numerical methods in Matlab.

List of the Topics Covered

Class Date Main Topic(s) Related Chapter(s)
1 Wed 05/27 Basic Tutorial 1, 2, 3
2 Mon 06/01 Operator precedence, Mathematical functions, Matrix Algebra 4, 5
3 Wed 06/03 Programming I: Basic programming constructs (flow of control), Functions 6, 7
4 Mon 06/08 Input and Output 13
5 Wed 06/10 Programming II: Function Handles, Subfunctions Anonymous functions, Scope rules 10
6 Mon 06/15 3D Graphics Tutorial 8
7 Wed 06/17 Some Matlab specific features: Logical Subscripting, Vectorization, global and persistent variables 18, 21
8 Mon 06/22 Numerical Methods in Matlab: data fitting, interpolation, optimization, ordinary differential equations. 11, 12

UMBC Academic Integrity Policy

By enrolling in this course, each student assumes the responsibilities of an active participant in UMBC’s scholarly community in which everyone’s academic work and behavior are held to the highest standards of honesty. Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and helping others to commit these acts are all forms of academic dishonesty, and they are wrong. Academic misconduct could result in disciplinary action that may include, but is not limited to, suspension or dismissal. To read the full Student Academic Conduct Policy, consult the UMBC Student Handbook, the Faculty Handbook, the UMBC Integrity webpage, or the Graduate School website