MATLAB for Math 20D

Welcome to the gateway page for the MATLAB portion of Math 20D! This part of the course is an introduction to the use of computer software to solve ordinary differential equations. The labs are meant not only to teach you how to use the software but also to help you see how the underlying algorithms actually work. The material also aims to give additional perspective to topics covered in the lecture, and it presents a few real-world applications that you might end up encountering in your major.

In general, each lab is self-contained and can be completed without prior MATLAB experience, although some assignments depend on commands learned in earlier labs. There are no limitations on when you may use the computer lab in AP&M B432 (B349 in the summer), and you can spend as much time as you wish on each assignment as long as you submit it on time.

If you need information about course policies or about using MATLAB on campus computers, check the links on the sidebar.

Assignments 1. Introduction to MATLAB Due Oct. 7
2. Visualizing Solutions to ODEs Due Oct. 21
3. Numerical Methods Due Nov. 4
4. Systems of ODEs Due Nov. 18

The due dates above are the standard dates for all 20D courses, but please note that your instructor may assign different dates, in which case his or her assigned dates take precedence. Please check your class's website to verify due dates.

Homework should be turned in to the basement drop boxes of AP&M by 3 pm on the listed due dates. Be careful to pace yourself with the rest of the course; if you see a midterm coming up near a MATLAB due date, it is to your advantage to do your homework early.

MATLAB Tutoring

MATLAB tutors are available to provide help with MATLAB; their scheduled hours are available via the link in the sidebar. Please note that there are not any regular MATLAB sections. You may go to the MATLAB lab any time it's open, whether or not your TA is scheduled to work there at that time. You can get help from any of the tutors present.


During the last week of the quarter, you will have to take a MATLAB quiz.

To help lighten the load on proctors, please do the following when you arrive for the quiz:

Quiz Times

Your quiz time is based on the discussion section in which you are officially enrolled. This fall, the 20D quiz will be held

Thursday, Dec 1
in APM B432 at the same time of day as
your regular discussion section.

If you are unable to make it to your assigned quiz time, you have the option to sign up for an alternate quiz time on a first-come, first-served basis. Alternate quiz scheduling will be available early in the second-to-last week of the quarter and will close on Friday of that week. No rescheduling will be available after the close on Friday.

Alternate quiz times this fall will be available on Monday, November 28th, at 9 am, 10 am, 11 am, and noon.

Once alternate quiz scheduling opens, you will be able to sign up for an alternate time by doing the following:

  1. Go to
  2. Enter your PID and select "Math 18 and Math 20D Final MATLAB Quiz" from the drop-down box. Select "Continue."
  3. Choose a time with an open slot and select the "Enroll" button next to it. You are now signed up for that time.
  4. If you'd like to change your scheduled time, just select "Enroll" for another time.

If you have any questions about the MATLAB quiz or the scheduling of alternate quiz times, please email the Senior MATLAB TA.


If you have any suggestions or comments about the lab assignments, we'd love to hear from you. Also, if you encounter any mistakes or broken links, let us know. Send an email to the Senior MATLAB TA.



  • Boyce, William E. and Richard C. DiPrima. Elementary Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems. 8th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005.
    This is the textbook for most of the Math 20D course.
  • Kreysig, Erwin. Advanced Engineering Mathematics. 7th ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1993.
    This book explains many of the applications of differential equations to science and engineering.
  • Stewart, James. Calculus - Early Transcendentals. 5th ed. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole, 2003.
    This is also a textbook for Math 20D, covering the first few weeks of the course.

Web Sites:

  • Wikipedia
    An excellent resource for articles on mathematical topics.
  • The Millenium Problems
    The Clay Mathematics Institute has offered a million dollar prize for the solution of a variety of open problems in mathematics. One such problem involves solving the Navier-Stokes equations, which are a set of differential equations.
  • MacTutor Archive
    The MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive is a comprehensive reference for information about mathematicians and the history of mathematics. Biographies of mathematicians mentioned in these assignments are found on this site.
  • BCIT Math Applications
    This site is a great resource for finding applications of math to the real world.
  • MathWorks
    MathWorks is the creator of MATLAB. Product information and help can be found here.
  • UCSD Math
    This is the home page for the UCSD Department of Mathematics.
    This is the ETS (Educational Technology Services) home page, containing resources for computing at UCSD.


Faculty Coordinator Professor Ioan Bejenaru
Graduate Student Coordinator John Geller
Previous Faculty Coordinators Professor Bunch
Professor Driver
Professor Eggers
Professor Helton
Professor Holst
Professor Li
Previous Graduate Student Coordinators Jay Cummings
Liz Fenwick
James Hall
Dan Hoff
Derek Newland
Håkan Nordgren
Jacek Nowacki
Sean Raleigh
Alon Regev
Timothy Swec

Last Modified: 16 September 2016