Faculty of Science

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 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.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Organisational Unit

School of Mathematical Sciences


Dr Leo Brewin



  • First semester 2016 (Day)


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%

Workload requirements

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

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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