Prof. Jian Wang
The use of computers in physics, as well as most other branches of science and engineering, has increased many times along with the rapid development of faster and cheaper hardware. This course aims to give the student a thorough grounding in the main computational techniques used in modern physics. It is particularly important in this course that the students should learn by doing. The course is therefore designed such that a significant fraction of the students' time is spent actually programming specific physical problems rather than learning abstract techniques. The course will cover the following problems:
Introductory Computational Physics and Computer Algebra
Integration and Differentiation
Interpolation and Extrapolation
Ordinary differential equations, such as those of classical mechanics.
Partial differential equations, such as the Maxwell's equations, the Diffusion equation, and the Schrodinger equation.
Matrix methods, such as systems of equations and eigenvalue problems applied to Poisson's equation and electronic structure calculations.
Monte Carlo and other simulation methods, such as the Metropolis algorithm and molecular dynamics.
Several Physics Projects
This is neither a short course in computing science nor in programming. It focuses specifically on methods for solving physics problems. Students will be expected to be familiar with basic programming. There is no requirement that the practical work be done using MATLAB, but anyone wishing to use some other programming language or computer should consult the lecturer beforehand. This is to make sure there is both help available from demonstrators and that it will be possible to assess the work satisfactorily.
1. Assignment: 20%
2. Project: 40%
3. Two-hour written exam: 40%
Samuel S. M. Wong, "Computational Methods in Physics & Engineering"
Nicholas J. Giordano and Nisao Nakanishi, Computational Physics