ODE on a

 Grecian Urn

Math 20D

MATLAB Assignments

This is the gateway page for the Math 20D MATLAB assignments.  This portion of Math 20D is an introduction to using computer software to solve ordinary differential equations.  The labs will explore not only how to use the software but also some of the ideas behind the underlying algorithms.  The material will also give additonal persepective and add to topics covered in lecture.

There are three main packages for general purpose scientific computation: Maple, Mathematica, and MATLAB, known as the 3Ms.  While this course focuses solely on MATLAB, all three packages are similiar and if you know one, you can usually pickup another one within an hour or two.  Many students enrolled in Math 20D will use one of these packages (or more specialized software of a similiar nature) heavily in their major.

Basic information for using MATLAB on campus ACMS computers can be found on the What You Need To Know About MATLAB portion of 20D page, while due dates for homeworks can be found on the MATLAB Assignment Due Dates page.  In general, though, each lab is self-contained and can be completed without prior MATLAB experience, although some assignments depend on commands learned in previous assignments


  1. Introduction to MATLAB
  2. Visualizing Solutions to ODEs using DFIELD and  PPLANE
  3. Numerical Methods with First-Order Equations
  4. Systems of ODEs


The following optional labs expand upon many of the topics from class.  Feel free to take a look and see if any of the topics interest you.  After each the prerequisite needed to complete the lab is listed.
  1. Appendix 1: Modeling with Differential Equations (Prerequisite: Lab 2)
  2. Appendix 2: Second-Order ODEs (Prerequisite: Appendix 1)
  3. Appendix 3: Series Solutions (Prerequisite: Appendix 2)
  4. Appendix 4: The Laplace Transform (Prerequisite: Appendix 3)

Matlab Final Quiz

Information about the MATLAB Final Quiz


    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 e-mail to the Senior MATLAB TA.



Web Sites:


Faculty Coordinator:
Professor Bill Helton
Graduate Student Coordinator:
Jay Cummings

Previous Faculty Contributors:
Professor Bunch
Professor Driver
Professor Eggers
Professor Holst
Previous Graduate Student Contributors:
Dan Hoff
James Hall
Liz Fenwick
Derek Newland
Hkan Nordgren
Jacek Nowacki
Sean Raleigh
Timothy Swec
Alon Regev

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