Skip to main content

Unit information: Numerical Methods in Matlab in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Numerical Methods in Matlab
Unit code EMAT20920
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Homer
Open unit status Not open

EMAT10100, EMAT10007, EMAT10006



School/department Department of Engineering Mathematics
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


This unit is a hands-on introduction to the industry-standard computer package Matlab, and also to the practical implementation of numerical methods and their application to real-world problems.

From the perspective of becoming familiar with Matlab and its syntax, we will discuss concepts such as matrices as the fundamental data-storage unit, array manipulation, control flow, script and function m-files, function handles, graphical output, data input and output. We will also recap the elements of programming style, and why they are essential in writing good code. From the application point of view, the focus will largely be on methods, rather than analysis, although some of the latter will be necessary to understand the sources of error that limit - and guide the choice of - methods in practice. We will consider numerical problems including root-finding, numerical quadrature and differentiation, and initial value ordinary differential equation problems, and implement a range of different algorithms in Matlab to solve them. In doing so we will learn about the strengths and weaknesses of different methods, their speed and stability, and the error propagation that underpins their behaviour.

The overall aim of this unit is to give students practical experience of implementing numerical methods in Matlab.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Use Matlab, fluently and confidently.
  2. Draw on the elements of programming style to create well-structured Matlab code.
  3. Make an appropriate choice from a range of numerical methods to solve applied problems, based on an understanding of their speed, error, and stability properties.
  4. Analyse the different sources of errors in numerical methods, both theoretically and computationally.
  5. Write programs in Matlab that implement numerical methods algorithms - both user-created and inbuilt - to solve a range of practical problems.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including lectures, practical activities supported by drop-in sessions or online computer laboratories and problem sheets.

Assessment Details

1 Summative Assessment, 100% - Coursework. This will assess all ILOs.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. EMAT20920).