Welcome to Introductory Numerical Methods!

EGR 205 – Introductory Numerical Methods

Spring 2006

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Scott D. Johnson, Associate Professor, Physical Sciences and Engineering


PHONE NUMBERS: 301-386-7536


To facilitate e-mail communication with me, please include the following code: NM231 along with the course designation (EGR 205) in the subject of any e-mails to me during the spring 2006 semester.


OFFICE HOURS: W 4-5pm, TTh 1:00-3:00pm, by appointment all other times


The understanding of a variety of numerical methods is crucial to solving most high-level applications in engineering, physics, chemistry, and biology. This course, recognizing this fact, emphasizes case studies in a number of areas including mechanical, civil, environmental, electrical, aerospace, chemical, and biological engineering. Subjects to be studied include error analysis, roots of non-linear equations, systems of linear equations, optimization, curve fitting including splines, Fourier analysis, modeling, numerical differentiation and integration, and numerical solving of differential equations including, but not limited to, predictor-corrector methods and finite element analysis. Extensive surveys of a number of advanced subjects include digital filters, molecular dynamics, percolation, and Monte Carlo simulation methods. Some new mathematical concepts will be introduced in the class. A number of software packages important to engineering are surveyed with primary emphasis on MATLAB.


MAT 242. Some knowledge of computer programming.


Upon successful completion of the course a student will be able to

  1. Give an error on solutions to numerically solved problems and qualify that error.

  2. Demonstrate the ability to use the appropriate numerical methods to solve complex science or engineering problems.

  3. Use a software package to aid in the solution of a complex science or engineering problem.

  4. Solve for the roots, minimum, and maximum of an equation, solve a system of equations, fit a curve to a set of data, and perform numerical differentiation and integration.

  5. Perform a rudimentary Fourier analysis.

  6. Demonstrate an understanding of the numerical techniques to solve differential equations.


Numerical Methods for Engineers 5th Edition. Chapra, Steven and Canale, Raymond. McGraw-Hill. (2005/2006).


Handouts on material not covered in the required textbook to be distributed in class throughout the semester.


As with any class an amount of time at least equivalent to two times the credit hours is expected to be performed for homework and labs. Note that this is an advanced class so expect to spend significantly more time on outside work than in most class.


Evaluation of student performance is to be based on:

  1. Four extensive projects will be assigned that will constitute 60% of the total grade.

  2. A four to five page essay surveying the material in the course. This essay is to include not just the methods but a practical guide on to when to use different numerical methods. This is worth approximately 20% of the semester grade.

  3. A number of short homework exercises emphasizing various concepts which will be worth approximately 10% of the grade.

  4. A final discussion which will be graded on participation and will be worth approximately 10% of the grade. This will be a group activity. Participation includes showing up for the discussion, being an active member of the discussion, and putting forth reasonable ideas.


  1. Homework is due at the start of class (or before) except for in-class projects.

  2. Make-up homework, quizzes, and/or tests are up to the discretion of the teacher (excused absences only). No makeup will be possible for laboratory work, sufficient time should be available to recover if an absence is necessary.


New topics are to be covered each week and include but are not limited to the following subjects. This outline is subject to change.

Week 1 Introduction to Computational Methods: MATLAB and other programs ; IMSL, LAPACK, PPPACK and other libraries

Week 2 Modeling and Error Analysis

Week 3 Roots of Equations

Week 4 Roots of Equations

Week 5 Linear Algebraic Equations

Week 6 Linear Algebraic Equations

Week 7 Optimization

Week 8 Optimization

Week 9 Curve Fitting

Week 10 Fourier Analysis

Week 11 Numerical Differentiation

Week 12 Numerical Integration

Week 13 Differential Equations

Week 14 Finite Differences and Finite Element method

Week 15 Simulation methods: Molecular Dynamics, Monte Carlo, and Percolation

Tests will be announced a week before and will depend on our progress in the classroom.

The Blackboard Login Procedure Has Changed For ALL Students

HOW TO LOG IN TO BLACKBOARD (note these class does not use blackboard)

Blackboard is a web-based program that serves as the college’s online classroom. You will use Blackboard to communicate with your instructor, to see your course materials, to submit assignments and to discuss course ideas with your classmates.

To login to your Blackboard course, please follow these steps:

Go to to create a myPGCC account. You will use your myPGCC username and password to login to Blackboard.

The first time you access Blackboard using your myPGCC account, you must change your myPGCC password to access Blackboard. When you change your myPGCC password, the Blackboard system is updated with the myPGCC account information.

Go to to reset your myPGCC password. Blackboard will be updated 1-2 minutes after you reset your password.


Students requesting academic accommodations are required to contact the Disability Support Services Office (M-1042) or call (301) 322-0838 (voice) or (301) 322-0122 (TTY) to establish eligibility for services and accommodations. Students with documented disabilities should discuss the matter privately with their instructors at the beginning of the semester and provide a copy of their Student/Faculty Accommodation Form.


The Prince George's Community College Code of Conduct defines the rights and responsibilities of students and establishes a system of procedures for dealing with students charged with violations of the code and other rules and regulations of the college. A student enrolling in the college assumes an obligation to conduct himself/herself in a manner compatible with the college's function as an educational institution. Refer to the 2005-2006 Student Handbook, beginning on page 41, for a complete explanation of the code of conduct, including the Code of Academic Integrity and the procedure for dealing with disruptive student behavior.


The college is an institution of higher learning that holds academic integrity as its highest principle. In the pursuit of knowledge, the college community expects that all students, faculty, and staff will share responsibility for adhering to the values of honesty and unquestionable integrity. To support a community committed to academic achievement and scholarship, the Code of Academic Integrity advances the principle of honest representation in the work that is produced by students seeking to engage fully in the learning process. The complete text of the Code of Academic Integrity is in the 2005-2006 Student Handbook (pages 42-45) and posted on the college's website.


  1. Food and drink in limited quantities (snacks, not meals) are permitted in restricted areas (not near electronics) and will be revoked if proper cleanliness is found wanting.

  2. Cell phones must be in vibrate mode and are only to be answered for emergencies (step outside please).

  3. Common courtesy is to apply at all times.


Last day to apply for spring graduation Wednesday, February 15

Presidents' Day - College Closed, No Class Monday, February 20

Last day to change from "audit" to "credit" or "credit" to "audit" Friday, March 3

Spring Break - College Closed, No Classes Mon.-Sun., April 10-16

Last day to withdraw from full-semester classes Friday, April 21

Final Exam Wednesday May 10


When the college announces a delayed opening, all classes with at least 45 minutes of class time remaining at the time of the opening will be held. For example, in the event of a 10 a.m. opening, a 9:30-10:45 a.m. class will be held. This procedure applies to all credit classes.


No lab for this class, however computer work will be extensive and access to a computer is a mandatory.


Student Assessment Services Center (Testing Center)

Bladen Hall, Room 100 301-322-0090


Check the web site for hours and policies and procedures.

Mathematics Learning Center (π Shop)

Marlboro Hall, Room 3104

Walk-in computer and mathematics assistance (note that due to overwhelming demand this service is being curtailed) for Mathematics and mathematical software such as MATLAB.

Tutoring and Writing Centers (

Bladen Hall, Room 107 Stop by or call 301-322-0748 to make an appointment.

The Tutoring Center can help you in many courses with free one-on-one or group tutoring.

The Writing Center offers one-on-one tutoring for all students who are working on a writing assignment in any course.

Student Development Services 301-322-0886


Student Development Services has various programs that provide students with mentoring, advising and individual counseling. Call or check the website for more information.

Library (

Accokeek Hall General information: 301-322-0105

Circulation services: 301-322-0475

Reference services: 301-322-0476

The Library provides a range of library and media services.

Refer to the web site for hours and more information about the services.

Campus Bookstore (

Largo Student Center, Room 116 301-322-0912