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ASTR415/688C Spring 2005 Term Project

Due May 5, 2005

For your term project, do a literature search on an astronomical subject of your choosing that features one or more modern numerical methods. The methods should be a key component of the work (for example, an $N$-body code for galactic dynamics research). Write a 2500-word essay (7 pages double-spaced max, not including figures or bibliography) giving background on the scientific rationale for the research and highlighting the following points:

  1. What is the numerical method used and why is it needed?
  2. What are the limitations of the method?
  3. What other methods exist for this kind of problem and why was the current one chosen over the others?
  4. How was the method implemented (e.g., what programming language was used, what platform was it run on, etc.)?
  5. How efficient is the method (how long does it take to get results, how accurate is it)?
  6. What are the key results from the research?
  7. Do you believe the results?
  8. Could the method be improved?

Be sure to give credit to the original authors of the code/work and cite all appropriate references.

Examples of numerical methods suitable for this project include $N$-body codes, hydro codes, Monte Carlo codes, stellar structure codes, radiative transfer codes, relativity codes, atomic structure codes, etc.

The essay component is worth 20% of your overall grade for the course.

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Derek C. Richardson 2005-03-07