Faculty of Science

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Science
Organisational UnitSchool of Mathematical Sciences
OfferedClayton First semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Leo Brewin


The unit offers a practical introduction to numerical computing. It begins by introducing the computing package MATLAB which is widely used in science and engineering. MATLAB will be the basis for all teaching and practical work. Topics covered include error analysis, the solution of algebraic equations; approximations of functions: curve fitting, least squares and interpolation; analysis of data by Fourier Transforms and FFTs; numerical differentiation and integration; ordinary differential equations. These topics will be supported with case studies drawn from various disciplines in the physical sciences.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Use a computer as a tool to solve mathematical problems using a simple but powerful package such as MATLAB;

  1. Understand how algorithms can be used to translate from mathematics into MATLAB programs;

  1. Demonstrate that there are a variety of ways to solve a numerical problem;

  1. Recognise the strengths and weaknesses of alternative algorithms;

  1. Select the appropriate algorithm for the problem at hand;

  1. Understand the approximations introduced in algorithms and the effects that those approximations have on the quality of calculations.


Examination (3 hours): 70%
Laboratory classes and assignments: 30%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

Three 1-hour lectures and an average of one hour of laboratory classes per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


At least one of MTH2010, MTH2015 or MTH2021