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Mathematics 450 Course Description and Philosophy

*Mathematical Modeling, Fall, 2004*
The official description in the Undergraduate Bulletin is:

450(G). MATHEMATICAL MODELING. (3, 0, 3). Development
of mathematical models arising in various areas of application in the physical,
biological, and social sciences. Prereq: MATH 350 with a grade of C or
better and working knowledge of a programming language

I am trying a somewhat different approach than I did in Fall,
2002. In particular, this semester, we will be using a text (Giordano
/ Weir / Fox) this semester. Depending on peoples' backgrounds,
the mathematical underpinnings of this text will be rather elementary,
and we will cover some material more or less quickly. However,
the focus of this course is on setting up the models, rather than solving
them, and this text provides a solid grounding in that. __You can
think of this course as a course in "word problems,"__ although we will
go beyond the simple formulations you have seen in calculus. In addition
to the text, we will have more advanced supplementary material, as in Fall,
2002. We will have both assignments from the text and projects;
see the required
work for this course.
Depending on students' backgrounds and interests, we can cover more
or less sophisticated mathematics and solution methods in addition to the
text material. This additional study will especially occur in conjunction
with the projects. The course will also involve a significant amount of
experimentation on the computer, with MATLAB, Mathematica, or standard
programming languages such as Fortran or C++.

My (the instructor's)
mathematical expertise and research interests lie in numerical analysis
of nonlinear algebraic systems and in numerical optimization, especially
global optimization. I also have served on the Fortran programming
language standardization committee, and I have done a major consulting
project involving "C" language programming and Matlab (although I do not
consider myself an expert in "C" or "C++"), and I have many years of experience
with Matlab and Mathematica in conjunction with course offerings.
I have also worked on mathematical models and their solution in industry,
involving chemical kinetics and the numerical solution of systems of ordinary
and partial differential equations. Students may wish to consider
my expertise when deciding on how I might help them with their projects.

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