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Unit information: Computational Physics 301 in 2020/21

Unit name Computational Physics 301
Unit code PHYS38012
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Jim Brooke
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

The unit will be taught through a combination of

  • asynchronous online materials, including narrated presentations and worked examples
  • synchronous group problems classes, workshops, tutorials and/or office hours
  • asynchronous directed individual formative exercises and other exercises
  • guided, structured reading

Assessment Details

Coursework (100%) : - 3 x coding assignments (15% each) - One 4 week assignment, giving 55% of the total mark.

Reading and References

Numerical Recipes, 3rd Edition (Press et al)