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Unit information: Computational Physics 301 in 2016/17

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Unit name Computational Physics 301
Unit code PHYS38012
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Dugdale
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Physics
Faculty Faculty of Science


This unit builds on computational physics from levels C/4 and I/5. The course introduces techniques for evaluation, differentiation, integration and solution of equations, and then applies this to the study of a variety of realistic physical systems. Self paced programming exercises of increasing complexity, with hands-on guidance from demonstrators.

This is a course on solving scientific problems using computers. Students will learn how to use computational methods in a scientific computing environment to solve physics problems, what the limitations of computers are and how to overcome or avoid these limitations.

Intended learning outcomes

Students should be able to:

  • choose appropriate algorithms to solve scientific and mathematical problems
  • write computer programs to implement the algorithms and solve the problems
  • understand the limitations and possible errors in the solutions
  • work in a scientific computing environment.

Teaching details

  • Lecture - 1 hour
  • Practicals - 8 sessions.

Assessment Details

Formative Assessment:

Feedback is provided on the first three exercises in time to inform the next exercise

Summative Assessment:

100% Coursework (four equally weighted exercises, students submitting their programs and an approximately 10 page report).

Reading and References

Numerical Recipes, 3rd Edition (Press et al)