MthSc 860: Introduction to Scientific Computing

This is the Home Page for the MTHSC 860 taught by Professor Warner. This page contains hyperlinks to a syllabus, the MATLAB Primer, projects, and other resources. Some of these documents are in Adobe portable document format and can be read and printed using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader which is installed on most campus machines.


The course Syllabus contains information about office hours, grading policy, and course policy including attendance. There is no required text for the course, although students are encouraged to consider obtaining a copy of Numerical Analysis by Kincaid and Cheney. They may also find the books Mastering MATLAB by Duane Hanselman and Bruce Littlefield, or the MATLAB User's Guide by the MathWorks, Inc. useful for their work with MATLAB. Students with home computers may want to purchase the Student Edition of MATLAB. The Student Edition is a full featured version of MATLAB whose only limitation is the size of the arrays it can handle. The Student Edition will be more than adequate for this course.


MATLAB stands for Matrix Laboratory. All students should start this course by reading the MATLAB Primer which is designed to help students learn to use MATLAB. A web based verion of the MATLAB Online Documentation is also available.

For most students the Primer and the on-line help facility sufficiently document MATLAB for use in their classwork. The Primer is not intended to replace the complete MATLAB User's Guide. The help facility in MATLAB has one major bug. It implies that MATLAB functions should be typed upper case. This is incorrect, they should be typed lower case. MATLAB is case sensitive, so x and X are treated as different variables.

MATLAB can be used interactively and will execute commands and statements as they are typed. MATLAB can also execute a sequence of commands and statements stored in a file. Such files are called M-files because they have the .m extension. There are two types of M-files: script files and function files. Both types of files contain sequences of MATLAB commands and statements. If pole.m is a script file, then the MATLAB command pole will cause the commands and statements in pole.m to be executed. Function files provide encapsulation and modularity. They are usually constructed to solve well-defined subproblems. Whether using MATLAB interactively or to execute a script, if the first command is diary name.out, everything appearing on the screen will also be written to the file name.out.


  1. This project generates a plot of some sample data.

Professor: Daniel D. Warner, Mathematical Sciences, Clemson University
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Last Updated: May 26, 1997.