Lectures: Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:30am - 11:45am, Innovation Hall 222
Homework and other information about the class will be posted on this website, and you are responsible for checking it regularly.
You are also responsible for checking your MasonLIVE email account regularly.
He will be available for drop-in visits on Tuesdays from 12:30 to 1:30; otherwise, it is best to use email to schedule a time. If you send email to the instructor, please put "CDS 130" in the subject line.
STARS (Class Assistants):
A number of students who have taken CDS 130 in the past will work as class assistants. One of these assistants will attend the classes and will help students outside of class. She can provide help both through email exchanges and with fact-to-face discussions.
On Monday and Tuesday evenings from 7:00pm until around 9:00pm class assistants will be in Room 161 of Research Hall to help CDS 130 students on a walk-in basis.
The class assistant assigned to this section of CDS 130 is
You can contact her by email, or before or after class. She will also be available in Room 161 on some evenings during the semester.
While any of the class assistants can provide some help with CDS 130 problems, Rebeca will be most familiar with the specific topics covered in this section of CDS 130. There are only slight variations in the topics, but there may be some differences in the schedules of the different sections.
In this course students learn the fundamentals of the computational approach to scientific problem solving. No prior programming experience is required.
None. On-line notes and web-based content will be used to supplement the lectures and in-class assignments.
Feedback on past student evaluations has indicated that these materials were sufficient for success in this course and for understanding the material.
Matlab will be used.
Matlab is a very widely-used scientific software package that has many built-in functions, but that also provides a rich programming language. In this course, you will learn the basics of Matlab. The way to learn any software package or any programming language is by using it. Some of you will learn much more about Matlab than we will cover in this course. You may use it in other more advanced courses, or if you go on in your studies, you may use it as a research tool. If you want to learn more about Matlab beyond what we will cover in this course, the publisher of the software, MathWorks, provides some helpful tutorials. Their getting started guide is particularly useful.
Matlab is available on most GMU classroom computers and computers in
student labs. For homework, you will usually have to print your solutions.
Some of the student computer labs have printers.
Here is information about the labs.
Students may also access and use Matlab without charge either
on campus or from any computer with an internet connection using the
See using VCL and step-by-step screen shots.
If you use an Apple Mac computer, the instructions are slightly different.
A Mac requires an app called "Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac", which allows a Mac to connect to a MS Windows-based computer and to work with programs and files on the MS Windows device.
The set-up instructions are straightforward.
Do not do this if it is already installed on your computer. (Just try to connect with the VCL first, before you download anything.
Students may also purchase Matlab and install it on their own personal computers. Patriot Computers in the Johnson Center sells a student version of Matlab for $109.
This is a three-credit course that meets for 75 minutes twice per week.
Some of the class time will be "activities".
For each class, I will usually have much more material than I will actually cover.
How much I cover will depend on the number of questions and the amount of class discussion.
Because of this, from time to time, I will have to make adjustments to assignments that I may have already posted on the website.
You are expected to attend every class (I do!), but I do not penalize students for missing class and I do not take attendance.
I believe that the grading policy sufficiently penalizes students for missing class, but it's up to you.
If you are unable to attend classes or if you feel that you are getting behind in your work, you should do something about it early in the semester.
This is true no matter what the excuse is.
There is not much that I can do if you come to me near the end of the semester
and ask about doing "extra work" so you can pass the course.
I hope you will always do extra work, but it's no substitute for the regular assigned work that all students are expected to do.
Homework must be submitted as hardcopy, either before the class or by the end of the class at which it is due (11:45a.m.!). Homework will not be accepted as email or fax (does anybody still do fax?).
Most homework will usually be hand-written, but it may involve printed computer output, especially later in the semester.
Late homework will not be accepted. I will drop the lowest homework grade.
It is OK to collaborate with other students on homework problems, however it is not OK to copy other students' work.
Homework questions will usually consist of calculations, short answers, and computer programs. The questions are designed to test a student's understanding of the course material.
When applicable, the student must write out both the solution and the step-by-step solution logic in their homework responses, so that instructors may assess the student's overall approach to and understanding of the assigned problems. Credit will be assigned on student homework based upon whether or not the student's solution is correct (approximately 50% of the score), and also whether the student's solution logic is correct (approximately 50% of the score).
Quizzes cannot be ``made-up''. (I post the solutions). I will drop the lowest quiz grade.
The quizzes will focus on the material covered in recent classes. They are not intended to be "cumulative", but they may involve concepts covered in earlier weeks.
Both exams are cumulative.
The exams will include short answers, multiple choice, and simple discussion questions. The questions will be based on concepts covered on the homeworks and in the in-class questions.
Sample midterm and final exams will be provided before the date of the actual exam.
I rarely give make-up exams. However, special consideration will be given if the student (1) has completed all of their home works on time and (2) provides compelling evidence that the exam was missed for reasons that were beyond the student's control.
I drop the lowest quiz and the lowest homework grade.
Quizzes 15% (lowest quiz grade dropped)
Homework 30% (lowest HW grade dropped)
Final exam 30%
I do want students to work hard, and I even hope that they will do "extra work" above and beyond the assigned homework, but I cannot really assign grades on "how much work" a student does or "how hard" a student works. To do so would involve a level of subjectivity completely inconsistent with my goal of objectivity and total fairness in how I deal with students in this class.
So, if you take this course, please keep up with the work, and if you find yourself falling behind, do something about it immediately. This may mean doing "extra work", but please don't ask for an adjustment in your grades based on "extra work".
Students with disabilities who need academic accommodations, please see the instructor and contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at 993-2474. All academic accommodations must be arranged through the ODS: http://ods.gmu.edu/.
George Mason provides Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) for students. Contact them at (703) 993-2380 or http://caps.gmu.edu/.
Note that other classes at GMU may have different restrictions on discussions among students relating to homework and course content.
A = 2 5 -7 -4 3 0 -1 6 -4
function p = pop(p0, numyears, rate) p = p0; for (i = 1:numyears) p = p + rate*p; end endAfter saving this function we tested it a few times.
>> p0 = 1000; >> rate = 0.05; >> numyears = 1; >> pop(p0, numyears, rate) ans = 1050 >> numyears = 2; >> pop(p0, numyears, rate) ans = 1.1025e+03Then we wanted to try the function over several years and graph the results (which we did not finish in class).
>> p0 = 1000; >> rate = 0.04; >> n = 50; >> time = 1:n; >> p(1) = p0 >> for (i = 2:n) >> p(i)=pop(p(i-1),1,rate); >> end >> plot(time,p,'r')