PHYSICS 200

COMPUTATIONAL PHYSICS SYLLABUS

Dr. Wolfgang Christian Office: Dana 113
Spring 1998 Phone: 892-2322

TEXT:

Oh! Pascal! (3rd ed) by Doug Cooper.

LECTURE:

TTh 8:30 - 9:45

OFFICE HOURS:

MWF 11:00 - 12:00, TTh 10:00 - 11:00

(Please check the laser lab and the Scientific Computation Center if I am not in my office.)

COURSE OBJECTIVES:

The Pascal programming language will be used to write programs and simulations with an emphasis toward investigating scientific problems using statistical, graphical and numerical methods.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:

It is one of the primary responsibilities of the student to attend each and every class. Each student is responsible for the material discussed in class and the announcements made in class. Absence from class does not relieve one from this responsibility. Attendance at all reviews is mandatory.

PASCAL TEXTS:

I have never found a perfect text for any programming language.  Some students may feel comfortable using the electronic on-line help manuals in Delphi. (You can highlight any Pascal word and press the F1 key and you get help complete with sample code!) Other students may prefer a book of sample code or a book that is specific to their major field of study.  Most books on Pascal Programming can also be used as a reference for Pascal syntax. I have chosen Oh! Pascal! (3rd ed) by Doug Cooper as a recommended text.  I can also recommend Borland Pascal from Square One by Jeff Duntemann,  Problem Solving and Structured Programming in Pascal by Elliot Koffman or Turbo Pascal by Walter Savitch. I am still collecting Delphi programming books but you should not buy one until you have had a chance to look around. Some books are very introductory and easy to read but they don't have a lot of meat. Other books are more like reference manuals and you may find them intimidating until you have written a program or two and understand the basic concepts. I will guide the class through the operations necessary to build a program during the first few weeks. It is not unreasonable to share books.

A selection of books will on reserve in the library.

PROGRAMMING:

A necessary but not sufficient condition for successful completion of PHY 200 will be mastery of the Pascal programming language and the Delphi programming environment. This will be accomplished through the assignment of nine programming exercises throughout the term and a final project of your choice. There will be two reviews testing your knowledge of Pascal syntax and programming concepts. Toward the middle of the term you will be asked to select a final project. Any topic that lends itself to computer analysis may be selected. Originality and creativity, as well as programming style and technique, will be evaluated. This final project will count as your exam for the course.

Actual programs will depend on the interest and ability of the class, but a typical list of programming exercises might include:

  1. Getting a program to run and compile: Quadratic Equations
  2. Programming loops: Linear Regression
  3. Functions, subroutines: CUPS Utilities
  4. Graphs
  5. Matrices: Systems of Equations
  6. Numerical integration and differentiation: Differential Equations
  7. Computer simulation: "Game of Life" or Electric Fields
  8. A final project of the students own choice

Complete projects are handed in on floppy disk. The disk must containing the Delphi projects files and a working EXE file.

GRADE:

Programs 50%

Reviews 20%

Final Project 30%

Due to the wide range of prior computer experience for entering PHY 200 students, the final grade may be adjusted IF there is a marked improvement in the computer programming/numerical-methods component of a student's performance during the course of the term.

TECHNICAL PROBLEMS:

Technical problems are inevitable with computers, but computers have become a part of professional practice in the sciences; and you need to be able to deal with these problems. Lost data due to scratched disks, bugs in programs or programmers, and a general computer-phobia are common. With proper and careful operating procedures, a little work and understanding, and some occasional humor these problems should go away.

A general understanding of computers is helpful in many courses on campus; so you may also wish to enroll in CSC introductory short courses on Word Perfect or DOS if you don't know what a disk drive is, how to copy a file, or do other basic operations.

HONOR CODE:

For the smaller programs the exchange of help, ideas and strategies among class members is encouraged; however, copying any portion of another student's work is a violation of the Honor Code. The word Pledged and the due date, included as a comment at the beginning of the program, signifies your compliance with this requirement. The only assistance a student may receive without violating the Honor Code for the Final Project is from Dr. Christian.