Aims and Description
Computational Physics

PH 464/564 - 466/566  Oregon State University

A course in scientific computing specialized to physics that provides the basic mathematical, numerical, and conceptual elements needed for utilizing computers as virtual scientific laboratories. Courses in sequence to be taken in order. The basics of computer hardware, such as memory and CPU architecture and the basics of scientific computing: algorithms, precision, elementary numerical analysis and associated approximation and round-off errors, and parallel computing. Examples from physical systems.  Each topic is studied in the context of a simple, but realistic project. Sample codes are usually provided, with the emphasis on understanding the simulations and visualizations. Students are encouraged to use Python or Java since they are free and powerful, with other compiled languages acceptable. Sample codes are given in multiple languages.

For each week there are reading assignments as well as one or more video lectures explaining new materials and the assignments.

A lab report format will be used for each project, and it is preferred to be a Web document that the instructor can access. On a page or two the student should indicate the equations solved, the computational method, the results, and a critical discussion. These are generally due within a week of the time at which the materials are covered.

Partial support for this work was provided by the National Science Foundation and OSU.

Rubin H Landau, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, 2011