Mathematical Modeling - Math 308 - Summer 2008

Course description:

This course is an introduction to mathematical modeling. Topics include: power laws (modeling of branching vascular networks), recurrence relations (modeling of annual plants), conservation laws and boundary value problems (modeling of heat diffusion), an introduction to the theory of waves (modeling of traffic at a red light).

Course objectives:

Students are expected to learn how to identify a problem, construct or select appropriate models, figure out what data needs to be collected, test the validity of a model, calculate solutions and implement and criticize the model.


K.K.Tung, Topics in Mathematical Modeling.

Course web page:


Irina Mitrea, 225 Kerchof Hall, Phone: 982-2787,

Teaching Assistant:

Katie Quertermous, 209 Kerchof Hall, Phone: 924-4167,

Lectures: MTWRF -- 10.30 am - 12.45 pm, Bryan 328

Office Hours:

Irina Mitrea, 225 Kerchof Hall, Tuesday and Friday 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. (or by appointment).

Katie Quertermous, 209 Kerchof Hall, TBA (or by appointment).


To be handed in at the Monday lecture meeting. Do all problems assigned. These will be graded and returned to you the next week. Please be sure that your work is legible.

No late homework will be accepted. You may work cooperatively on assignments provided

You write up the solution yourself.
You put a note on your homework indicating the names of anyone you worked with.

You will be required to write a program to solve certain homework problems.The program must be handed in as part of the assignment, together with the output of the program, in the format indicated in the assignment, and an interpretation of the results whenever necessary. All programs should be written in Matlab.


The final project counts 60%, homework counts 20% and the remaining 20% is apportioned among quizzes and class participation.

Incomplete :

An incomplete will be given only in those rare circumstances where a student has completed all but a small portion of the course with a grade C or better and a severe, unexpected event prevents him/her from completing the course. In particular, if you get behind in the course you cannot ``bail out" by taking an incomplete.

Attendance and absences :

You are responsible for the material covered in class, whether you attend or not. You are also responsible for the announcements made during class; these may include changes in the syllabus.

Academic honesty is fundamental to the activities and principles of a University. Any effort to gain an advantage not given to all students is dishonest whether or not the effort is successful. When in doubt about plagiarism or collaboration, consult the course instructor. The academic community regards academic dishonesty as an extremely serious matter, with serious consequences that range from probation to expulsion.

If you need accommodations because of a disability , if you have emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please inform me immediately. Please see me after class, or at my office.

Words of advice: I encourage you to ask questions about the HW. Keep up with the latest materials covered; experience shows that, otherwise, you are likely to get poor grades on the exams. If you miss a class, make sure you get the notes from someone else who attended it. The professor will not assist any absentee to find out what happened in his/her absence. Hard work and regular attendance will get you through this course.