MATH 486/ Math 522 Mathematical Modeling

Instructor: Hemanshu Kaul

Office: 125C, Engineering 1
Phone: (312) 567-3128
E-mail: kaul [at]

Time: 1:50pm, Tuesday-Thursday.
Place: at 025, Engg. 1 Bldg.

Office Hours: 4:35pm-5:35pm Tuesday and Thursday; walk-ins; and by appointment. Emailed questions are also encouraged.
TA Office Hours: Adam Rumpf, arumpf [at], 10am-11:30am, Tuesday and Thursday, at 129, E1 bldg.

|Course Information| |Advice| |Announcements| |Examinations| |Project| |Homework| |Class Log| |Books| |MATLAB/ Mathematica| |Useful Links|

Course Information:

The Course Information Handout has extensive description of the course - topics, textbook, student evaluation policy, as well as other relevant information. Read it carefully!

The Aims and Syllabus of this course.

Advice for students:

Understanding Mathematics - a study guide

Excellent advice for math majors and graduate students, by Terry Tao, 2006 Fields medallist. Required reading.

Some of the primary sources of information/discussion for careers in Mathematical Sciences:
MAA - Careers
SIAM - Careers
INFORMS - Careers
AMS - Careers

Class Announcements:



Instructions: The project is an important part of this course - not just in terms of the grade, but for the sake of comprehensive, practical understanding of how to apply modeling framework to an open ended real-life problem. This is why the problem statements that I have given to you are just short and open-ended descriptions of the certain real-life situations. You have complete freedom in mathematical interpretation of the problem and how you “solve” it. The only requirement is that you use the mathematical modeling process, and justify your model and its conclusions as they apply to the problem. Its a test of your creativity in formulation of models and solution methods, and your ability to find and understand relevant mathematical knowledge.

Read carefully through this list of instructions and advice for your project.

Look through the example project report given at the end of this SIAM report in Appendix B on page 50 of the pdf file for an example on how to format and write your project report. The pages 1-50 of this pdf file are also useful as a detailed overview of how to approach the modeling process for a project.

Deadlines for the semester project:
Last week of February: I will send you the list of project topics by email.

2/27/2015: Email me with project team members (2 per team, 3 if necessary; all members must be registered for the same course number)
3/6/2015: Email me with your choice of project topic among the project descriptions sent to you by email.
4/9/2015: Discuss the initial draft and model of your project with me in person. All members of your team must be present.
5/1/2015: Final submission of Project report and associated materials/programs/etc.

Homework Assignments:
The homework problems listed below are from the course textbook, Giordano, Fox, Horton, A First Course in Mathematical Modeling, 5th edition.
If you have the 4th edition of the textbook, please compare the problem statements with those in 5th edition before solving them.

You are allowed the use of calculators /computational software, to aid in the basic computational work of the problems. In case of doubt, ask me for a clarification.
You have to explain what you are doing IN WORDS. Its not enough to write down an equation without explaining how/why/what of it - you have to define what the variables mean. It is not acceptable to simply input data into Mathematica/Maple/Matlab and ask it to figure out the best "model" for you. You can use these software to aid in your computations, not to simply solve the whole thing for you.

Class Log:

Supplemental Reading:

For an alternate point-of-view and for additional applications, refer to the following books:

M.M.Meerschaert, Mathematical Modeling, Fourth Edition.
H.P. Williams, Model Building in Mathematical Programming, Fifth Edition.
Hillier and Lieberman, Introduction to Operations Research, 7th edition onwards.

MATLAB Information:

MATLAB - getting started at IIT, by Greg Fasshauer
A crash course
Matlab quick reference sheets
Getting Started in MATLAB (pdf)
The MathWorks Student Center
A Very Elementary MATLAB Tutorial
MATLAB 7: Getting Started Guide<\a>
Learning MATLAB
Official MATLAB Site

Mathematica Help:

Mathematica Tutorials.
A Beginner's guide to Mathematica.
Introduction to Mathematica.

Octave and Scilab, two inexpensive (FREE) alternatives to MATLAB

Links for Additional Information:

Wikipedia on Math Models
OR Models