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COMO303 Numerical Methods

2021 information for papers will be published in early September. 

Develops the theory and techniques required to apply computational methods in modelling, applied mathematics, and data analysis. Topics include matrix computation, data fitting, and the numerical solution of differential equations.

This paper introduces methods and theory for computational applied mathematics and modelling, with an emphasis on practical applications and modelling. You will learn a useful collection of numerical techniques for solving a wide variety of mathematical problems. In particular, we discuss solving systems of equations, matrix decompositions, curve fitting, numerical integration and differential equations. For some methods, detailed derivations are given, so you will also obtain an understanding of why the methods work, when they will not work and of difficulties that can arise. For other methods, the focus will be on applying them in practical situations. For the computational side, we will use the numerical computing environment MATLAB. Previous experience with MATLAB is useful, but not required. An introduction will be provided in the first labs. At the end of this paper, you will have a good understanding of how to solve various problems numerically, choose the best method for a given problem, and to interpret the solutions found in the context of error bounds and stability.

Paper title Numerical Methods
Paper code COMO303
Subject Computational Modelling
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,080.30
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,858.95

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MATH 202
MATH 361
Recommended Preparation
COMO 204
Schedule C
This paper should appeal to a wide group of students, including those majoring in Mathematics, Statistics, Computational Modelling, Physics, Engineering, Computer Science, Economics or any other field in which one often needs to use numerical approximations to solve real world problems.
Teaching staff

Lecturer: Dr Jörg Hennig

Paper Structure
This paper covers four key themes:
  • Introduction to numerical algorithms
  • Matrix decompositions and their uses
  • Least-squares fitting and applications
  • Modelling with ordinary differential equations
Teaching Arrangements
Each week there are 2 or 3 lectures (alternating) and 2 hours of supervised labs.
Textbooks are not required for this paper.
A useful reference is Cleve B. Moler, Numerical Computing with MATLAB, SIAM (2008). A free web edition is available.
Course outline
View the course outline for COMO 303
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Critical thinking, Information literacy.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • Information and computational literacy
  • Interdisciplinary thinking
  • Communication and writing skills

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Monday 13:00-13:50 9-13, 19-22
Wednesday 13:00-13:50 9-12, 18-22
Friday 13:00-13:50 9-10, 12, 18, 20


Stream Days Times Weeks
T1 Monday 15:00-16:50 9-13, 19-22