Astronomy 415: Fall 2010
"Computational Astrophysics"This course will provide the astronomy student with a basic knowledge of numerical methods in astrophysics. By the end of the course students should be comfortable working in a Unix environment, compiling and running codes, and employing a variety of visualization techniques to analyze the results. This process will be motivated by concrete examples of modern problems in astrophysics that demand numerical approaches.
The exact details of the material covered will depend on the existing level of computer sophistication among the class participants. However, in broad outline the major course topics will include linear algebra, root finding, leastsquare fitting, Monte Carlo methods, numerical integration, Nbody methods, fluid dynamics, FFTs and timeseries analysis.
Schedule
Instructor: Massimo Ricotti Class: room CSS 2428 Lectures: Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30pm to 13:45pm First class: Tue Aug 31 Last class: Thu Dec 9
What's New?
Dec 7: Problem Set #4 solutions posted. 
Dec 2: Problem Set #6 posted. 
Nov 30: Online course evaluation open Nov 29Dec 12  please participate. If we reach 70\% response rate I will bring cookies or cake in class!! 
Nov 23: Term project assignment posted. 
Nov 18: Problem Set #5 posted. 
Nov 16: Problem Set #3 solutions posted. 
Nov 2: Problem Set #4 posted. 
Nov 2: Problem Set #2 solutions posted. 
Oct 19: Problem Set #3 posted It is long, start early! 
Oct 12: Problem Set #1 solutions posted. 
Oct 5: Problem Set #2 posted. 
Sept 21: Problem Set #1 posted. 
Sept 13: Play with C examples and "Makefile mistery". 
Sept 02: Survey results posted. 
Contact info and Notes
 Office: room CSS 0213
 Email: ricotti "at" astro "dot" umd "dot" edu
 Phone: (301) 405 5097
 Office hours: Wednesday 2:303:30 or by appointment
 Class web page: http://www.astro.umd.edu/~ricotti/NEWWEB/teaching/current.html
Course Outline
The Syllabus is available in HTML and PDF format.
Date  Lecture  Reading (NRiC)  Lecture Notes  

#1  Aug 31  Introduction to the course     
#2  Sep 02  Computer architecture    class02.pdf 
#3  Sep 07  Introduction to UNIX  tutorial   
#4  Sep 09  Introduction to C  1.11.2, tutorial   
#5  Sep 14  Introduction to C (cont.)  1.11.2, tutorial   
#6  Sep 16  Introduction to visualization  tutorial  class05.pdf 
#7  Sep 21  Data representation  1.3  class05.pdf 
#8  Sep 23  Linear algebra, part 1 (GaussJordan elimination)  2.02.3  class06.pdf 
#9  Sep 28  Linear algebra, part 2 (LU & SVD decomposition)  2.42.6  class07.pdf 
#10  Sep 30  Root finding in 1D  9.09.1, 9.4, 9.6  class08.pdf 
#11  Oct 05  Root finding in multiD, and numerical differentiation  5.7  class09.pdf 
#12  Oct 07  Statistics and the KS test  14.014.3  class10.pdf 
#13  Oct 12  Leastsquares fitting  15.015.2, 15.415.5  class11.pdf 
#14  Oct 14  Random numbers and cryptography  7.07.2  class12.pdf 
#15  Oct 19  Numerical integration  7.6, 4.04.4, 4.6  class13.pdf 
#16  Oct 21  Integration of ODEs, part 1 (IVPs)  16.016.1  class14.pdf 
#17  Oct 26  Integration of ODEs, part 2 (leapfrog)    class15.pdf 
#18  Oct 28  Integration of ODEs, part 3 (stiff ODEs & 2pt BVPs)  16.6, 17.0  class16.pdf 
#19  Nov 02  Integration of ODEs, part 4    class17.pdf 
#20  Nov 04  Nbody techniques, part 1    class18.pdf 
#21  Nov 09  Nbody techniques, part 2 (PP)  19.0, 19.419.6  class19.pdf 
#22  Nov 11  Nbody techniques, part 3 (PM)    class20.pdf 
#23  Nov 16  Nbody techniques, part 4 (tree)    class21.pdf 
#24  Nov 18  Integration of PDEs, part 1 (ell & hyp)  19.2  class22.pdf 
#25  Nov 23  Integration of PDEs, part 2 (hyp & par)    class23.pdf 
  Nov 25  no class (Thanksgiving)     
#26  Nov 30  Fluid dynamics, part 1 (eqns)  19.3  class24.pdf 
#27  Dec 02  Fluid dynamics, part 2 (methods)    class25.pdf 
#28  Dec 07  Term project presentation     
#29  Dec 09  Term project presentation     
  Not covered  Fourier transform, part 1 (intro)  12.012.1, 19.4  class26.pdf 
  Not covered  Fourier transform, part 2 (FFT)  12.2, 13.013.2, 13.4  class27.pdf 
  Not covered  Other topics    class28.pdf 
Textbooks
 There are no required textbooks
 Recommended:
 Numerical recipes in FORTRAN [or in C], by Press, W.H. et al.
Course Grading
 Homework 80%
 Term Project 20%
There are no exams for this course. Class participation is strongly encouraged.
Class Survey Results
The starting level of computer and programming competence of the students in this class (measured the first day of class) is "Novice/Beginner" as indicated by the result of the class survey. The survey results are available in HTML and PDF format. I will start the lectures with simple and, for some of you, obvious concepts and finish with more complex and challenging topics that should entertain even the most experienced students in the class.
Homework
Homework will be assigned every week or every other week. Their due dates will be announced at the time they are assigned. On the due date the students will be expected to turn in their homework in class. The homework turned in will be graded and returned to the students. I will provide solutions and discuss them in class.
Link to Numerical Recipes sources in C and in FORTRAN: it is preferable to compile the recipes as separate files rather than cut and paste the functions into your source code.
Note that in order to use NRiC routines the easiest way is to include nr.h header file and nrutil.c and nrutil.h to use vectors and matrices. You can find these files here.
Problem set  Date  Problem Set  Solutions  Extras  
Assigned  Due  
#1  Sept 21  Sept 30  HTML/PDF  HTML/PDF  
#2  Oct 5  Oct 19  HTML/PDF  HTML/PDF  data  
#3  Oct 19  Nov 2  HTML/PDF  HTML/PDF  data  
#4  Nov 2  Nov 16 (deadline extended)  HTML/PDF  HTML/PDF  
#5  Nov 18  Dec 2  HTML/PDF  HTML/PDF  
Term Project  Nov 23  Dec 9  HTML/PDF  
#6  Dec 2  Dec 9  HTML/PDF  HTML/PDF  movie 
Tutorials

Old Class Notes

Useful Links
OpenMP links: OpenMP.org Wiki OpenMP CUDA and GPU computing: Nvidia webpage with examples to download Wiki OpenCL Wiki CUDA Check out the UMD Astronomy Computing Wiki! (In the listings below, a "W" link indicates a Wikipedia entry on the topic is available.) Online Tutorials
