Computational Physics I
Scientific Computing II

PH 464 / PH564

3 Credits, CRN 18437
an eCampus Course
  Oregon State University

Fall 2012

Mathematical, numerical, and conceptual elements forming foundations of scientific computing: computer hardware, algorithms, precision, numerical analysis & parallel computing. Video-based lectures plus labs.

This is an eCampus (online) course with no regularly-scheduled lab or office hour, but with video lecture modules including encapsulated slides. The instructor gladly works with students via email, and since he is often out of town, this is the preferred approach (communication through Blackboard is less immediate). Please do note, for this online course to work for you, you must be proactive in putting questions to the instructor, to other students, and in getting help quickly before you fall behind.

New Mandatory Requirement (until released): You must have a short, personal conversation with the instructor for the first few weeks of the class. You can arrange by email to call him (before 9 PM Pacific time) on Skype (rubinhlandau), or his cell phone (541-224-4549), or you can ask him to call you. Once we are both satisfied that the course is working out successfully for you, then regular email should suffice.

Professor:  Rubin H Landau

Midterm Exam: Tues 30 Oct
Final Exam: Mon 3 Dec
(See signup link below)

 Syllabus & Assignments

Office 499 Weniger Hall
CP Labs: Weniger 412, 497

Course Description & Aims

Learning Outcomes

CPUG A CP Curriculum

Project Instructions

Sample Project Report

Video Lectures, Only Slides

Student Expectations

Acceptable Cooperation with Others

Prerequisites:   PH 265 or CS 161, or introductory programming experience,  PH 213,  MTH 252.  
   MTH 306 (Series & Matrices), or equivalent.

Curricular Materials


 Landau, Paez, Bordeianu A Survey of Computational Physics; introductory computational science


 Princeton University Press, 2008.

eTextBook (Python)

With NSF and OSU support, we  have created a Python version of the text in the form an eTextBook. A complete version of it is available from Compadre (AAPT Physical Science Resource Center) and Merlot (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching).

Electronic Enhancements

 Sample Codes in multiple languages, Animations, Applets, Visualizations, etc: on text's CD or commercial eBook.

Electronic Lectures (Videos)

 All on line, some on DVD available from instructor.


Quality and completeness of projects (best N-1 of N)

50%  Midterm 20%
Final Exam 20% Participation 10%

The projects involve some programming and explorations, usually done with a modification of a sample code. In order to receive a full grade on a project report, to the extent possible, your report must describe in your own words the five major elements (use these as headings):
1. Equation solved 4. Results; preferably visualization
2. Algorithm used 5. Critical analysis (what you learned or not)
3. Code listing (preferably link  to it)  

The exams emphasize assigned readings, understanding of concepts and vocabulary, but not programming details Use of any compiled language is acceptable, although we recommend Python or Java.

You must sign up for a proctored exam exams via the link . Please do it early so that you can fit the exam into your schedule.

Acceptable Cooperation: You are encouraged to discuss assignments with the instructors and other students. Even if you work in a group, it is still your responsibility to understand the work you hand in. When you place your name on an assignment, it is viewed as a signed statement that it is your work and that if asked to, you can explain it.

Warning: Handing in another student's assignment (either in original or modified form) without acknowledgement is academic dishonesty and will result in an F grade for the entire course. Sample codes are given to you, there is no credit for just running them.
College Science Computer Support On-line Unix tutorial Physics Department Computer Support

Needed Software and Computational Physics Lab: You should be able to load up your personal computer with all the software you will need for this course (and it's all free!). The text describes how to do this, although you may want find a friend if you have trouble. Just what you will need depends on the computer language you use (we recommend Python or Java). There are two Computational Physics labs in the OSU Physics Department that were set up for use of this course. You may have to get a key from the Physics Department office.

Partial support for this course and eTextBook has been provided by the National Science Foundation for the CPUG degree program and the BMACC project.
Rubin H LandauOregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, 97331