MTH3051 - Introduction to computational mathematics - 2017

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


Professor Hans De Sterck

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (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;
  2. Understand how algorithms can be used to translate from mathematics into MATLAB programs;
  3. Demonstrate that there are a variety of ways to solve a numerical problem;
  4. Recognise the strengths and weaknesses of alternative algorithms;
  5. Select the appropriate algorithm for the problem at hand;
  6. 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


Students must be enrolled in the Master of Financial Mathematics or have passed one of the following units: MTH2010, MTH2015 or ENG2005