CSCI 385 - Scientific Computing

Hendrix College
MCReynolds 317
MWF 2:10pm - 3:00pm - Fall 2014

Instructor: Dr. Mark Goadrich

Contact Info

Office Hours
T 2-4pm W 3-4pm R 9-11am
or by appointment

Overview | Syllabus | Labs | Final Project | Exams | Grading

Course Details

Recommended Textbooks

A Primer on Scientific Programming with Python
by Hans Petter Langtangen, 2012
Find this text on Amazon
Introduction to Computational Science
by Angela B. Shiflet and George W. Shiflet, 2014
Find this text on Amazon

This class is BYOL. Bring a laptop computer to class with you every day, unless there is a test. I have a small number of computers available for students who are unable to do so. We will do programming every class period.

In particular we will be using IPython, primarily with the SciPy, NumPy and MatPlotLib packages. The best way to install these is to use Anaconda for Python 2.7. This is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.


Students study problems arising from the physical, biological, and/or social sciences and the algorithms and theory used to solve them computationally. Included among the problems are numerical methods for maximizing a function and solving a differential equation. Prerequisite: MATH 130 and CSCI 150.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, among other things you should be able to:


It is the policy of Hendrix College to accommodate students with disabilities, pursuant to federal and state law. Students should contact Julie Brown in the Office of Academic Success (505.2954; to begin the accommodation process. Any student seeking accommodation in relation to a recognized disability should inform the instructor at the beginning of the course.

Academic Honor

As stated in the Hendrix Academic Integrity Policy, all students have agreed to adhere to the following principles: I will provide guidelines for the amount of cooperation allowed on each assignment as they are posted.


Extensions and rescheduling for labs, projects, exams and quizzes are only given when circumstances beyond your control (e.g. being sick, academic, choir or sports travel, etc) prevent you from completing a project on time. You must notify me either by email or phone of your circumstances well in advance of the due date. No extensions are given for requests made within three days of the due date.

Quizzes and Participation

You should attend class and participate in discussions every day, answering questions, asking questions, presenting material, etc. Also, sporadically throughout the semester, there will be short quizzes covering material from the previous class. Active participation will comprise 5% of your final grade.


We will be using textbook and additional supplemental material such as relevant web-pages and background material for the course. Readings will be assigned before material will be covered in class. You are expected to review the material and come to class prepared. As readings are assigned, they will be posted here.

Scratch Pad


Much of your experience with modeling in this course will be through semi-weekly labs, which will comprise 40% of your final grade. All labs are weighted individually within the Lab portion of your final grade.

Final Project

You will be working on a summative final project for the course, applying at least two approaches learned in class to a real-world modeling problem. This will comprise 25% of your final grade.


There will be 2 exams, each worth 15% of your final grade.


Your final grade for this course will be based on the Labs, Projects, Quizzes, Exams and Participation described above.
Grading Scale
Final Project25%
Exam 115%
Exam 215%

© Mark Goadrich, Hendrix College