Mathematics 256 - Fall 1997

Differential equations for engineers

Section 101: Dr. Casselman, Math Annex 1100, 8:30 MWF
Section 102: Dr. Ward, Math Annex 1100, 1:30 MWF

Dr. Casselman and Dr. Feldman and are just now beginning to prepare the text and lab notes for the fall term. In the meantime, you might take a look at last year's material. There will be a small number of substantial changes from last year, but the general outline will be the same.

Some may find the textbook by Boyce & DiPrima useful, although last year nobody used it.

The laboratories will be based on software written by us in Java (which is, for these purposes, not so different from C). They will likely involve writing short pieces of code, as well as using tools developed by us to handle standard numerical routines.

The fall sections of this course are intended exclusively for electrical engineering students. Mechanical engineering students are intended to take the course in the spring.

Roughly speaking, this course differs from other differential equations courses in that (1) we introduce more physical examples; (2) the laboratories allow us to deal with more interesting stuff; (3) it covers about 60% of the material in Math 255 and Math 257, but in a single term.

Course notes



Part I: First order equations

Chapter 1. Newton's law of cooling

Chapter 2. Complex numbers

Chapter 3. Periodic functions and flickering lights

Chapter 4. Euler's method for numerical approximation of solutions

Chapter 5. Efficient numerical methods

Homework assignments

First homework

First homework solutions

Second homework

Second homework solutions

Third homework

Course applets

A falling object

Simple periodic functions


Cooling with square wave variation

Cooling with linear increase

Euler's method: y' = y

Euler's method: Torricelli

Euler's method: text example y' = y - t

Weight on a spring