Astronomy 415: Fall 2014
Computational Astrophysics
This course will provide the astronomy student with a basic knowledge of numerical methods in astrophysics. By the end of the course students should be comfortable working in a Unix environment, compiling and running codes, and employing a variety of visualization techniques to analyze the results. This process will be motivated by concrete examples of modern problems in astrophysics that demand numerical approaches.
The exact details of the material covered will depend on the existing level of computer sophistication among the class participants. However, in broad outline the major course topics will include linear algebra, root finding, leastsquare fitting, Monte Carlo methods, numerical integration, Nbody methods, fluid dynamics, FFTs and timeseries analysis.
Schedule
Instructor: Massimo Ricotti Class: CSS 2428 Lectures: Wednesday and Friday from 2:00pm to 3:15pm First class: Wed Sept 3 Last class: Fri Dec 12
What's New?
Dec 1st: Online course evaluation open Dec 1Dec 14  please participate. 
Nov 21: Problem Set #6 posted (the last one! due Dec 3rd). 
Nov 12: Problem Set #5 posted (due Nov 21st). 
Nov 5: Term projects posted (due Dec 5th). 
Oct 31: Problem Set #4 posted (due Nov 7th). 
Oct 17: Problem Set #3 posted (due Oct 29th). 
Oct 3: Problem Set #2 posted (due Oct 15th). 
Sept 26: Tutorial on GNU's GDB Debugger and Pointers. 
Sept 24: Play with C examples. 
Sept 19: Problem Set #1 posted (due Oct 1st). 
Sept 5: Survey result posted. 
Sept 3: First class 
Contact info and Notes
 Office: PSC 1156
 Email: ricotti "at" astro "dot" umd "dot" edu
 Phone: (301) 405 5097
 Office hours: Thu at 3pm or by appointment
 Class web page: http://www.astro.umd.edu/~ricotti/NEWWEB/teaching/ASTR41514.html
Course Outline
The Syllabus is available in HTML and PDF format.
Date  Lecture  Reading (NRiC)  Lecture Notes  

#1  Sept 3  Introduction to the course     
#2  Sept 5  Computer architecture  Computer architecture  class02.pdf 
#3  Sept 10  Introduction to UNIX  tutorial   
#4  Sept 12  Introduction to C  1.11.2, tutorial   
#5  Sept 17  Examples in C and debugging  1.11.2, tutorial   
#6  Sept 19  Parellel Computing (CPU and GPU)  tutorial   
#7  Sept 24  Data representation  1.3  class05.pdf 
#8  Sept 26  Linear algebra, part 1 (GaussJordan elimination)  2.02.3  class06.pdf 
#9  Oct 01  Linear algebra, part 2 (LU & SVD decomposition)  2.42.6  class07.pdf 
#10  Oct 03  Root finding in 1D  9.09.1, 9.4, 9.6  class08.pdf 
#11  Oct 08  Root finding in multiD, and numerical differentiation  5.7  class09.pdf 
#12  Oct 10  Statistics and the KS test  14.014.3  class10.pdf 
#13  Oct 15  Leastsquares fitting  15.015.2, 15.415.5  class11.pdf 
#14  Oct 17  Random numbers and cryptography  7.07.2  class12.pdf 
#15  Oct 22  Numerical integration  7.6, 4.04.4, 4.6  class13.pdf 
#16  Oct 24  Integration of ODEs, part 1 (IVPs)  16.016.1  class14.pdf 
#17  Oct 29  Integration of ODEs, part 2 (leapfrog)    class15.pdf 
#18  Oct 31  Integration of ODEs, part 3 (stiff ODEs & 2pt BVPs)  16.6, 17.0  class16.pdf 
#19  Nov 05  Integration of ODEs, part 4    class17.pdf 
#20  Nov 07  Nbody techniques, part 1    class18.pdf 
#21  Nov 12  Nbody techniques, part 2 (PP)  19.0, 19.419.6  class19.pdf 
#22  Nov 14  Nbody techniques, part 3 and 4 (PM)    class20.pdf class21.pdf 
#23  Nov 19  Integration of PDEs, part 1 (ell & hyp)  19.2  class22.pdf 
#24  Nov 21  Integration of PDEs, part 2 (hyp & par)  19.2  class23.pdf 
#25  Nov 26  Fluid dynamics, part 1 (eqns)  19.3  class24.pdf 
  Nov 28  no class Thanksgiving     
#26  Dec 03  Fluid dynamics, part 2 (methods)    class25.pdf 
#27  Dec 05  Term project presentations     
#28  Dec 10  Term project presentations     
#29  Dec 12  Term project presentations     
  Likely not covered  Fourier transform, part 1 (intro)  12.012.1, 19.4  class26.pdf 
  Likely not covered  Fourier transform, part 2 (FFT)  12.2, 13.013.2, 13.4  class27.pdf 
  Likely not covered  Other topics    class28.pdf 
Textbooks
 There are no required textbooks
 Recommended:
 Numerical recipes in FORTRAN [or in C], by Press, W.H. et al.
Course Grading
 Homework 70%
 Term Project 30%
The homework is the most important part of the class. In class participation is strongly encouraged.
Class Survey Results
The starting level of computer and programming competence of the students in this class (measured the first day of class) is "Novice" as indicated by the result of the class survey. The survey results are available in PDF format. I will start the lectures with simple and, for some of you, obvious concepts and finish with more complex and challenging topics that should entertain even the most experienced students in the class.
Homework
Homework will be assigned every week or every other week. Their due dates will be announced at the time they are assigned. On the due date the students will be expected to turn in their homework in class. The homework turned in will be graded and returned to the students. I will provide solutions and discuss them in class.
Link to Numerical Recipes sources in C and in FORTRAN: it is preferable to compile the recipes as separate files rather than cut and paste the functions into your source code.
Note that in order to use NRiC routines the easiest way is to include nr.h header file and nrutil.c and nrutil.h to use vectors and matrices. You can find these files here.
Problem set  Date  Problem Set  Extras  
Assigned  Due  
#1  Sep 19  Oct 1  HTML/PDF  
#2  Oct 3  Oct 15  HTML/PDF  
#3  Oct 17  Oct 29  HTML/PDF  data 
#4  Oct 31  Nov 7  HTML/PDF  
TERM PROJECT  Nov 5  Dec 5  HTML/PDF  
#5  Nov 12  Nov 21  HTML/PDF  
#6  Nov 21  Dec 3rd  HTML/PDF 
Tutorials

Old Class Notes

Useful Links
Tutorial on Pointer: TUTORIAL ON POINTERS AND ARRAYS IN C Debugger's Links: Using GNU's GDB Debugger Debugging Floating Point Exceptions OpenMP links: OpenMP.org OpenMP Tutorial Wiki OpenMPCUDA and GPU computing: Nvidia webpage with examples to download Wiki OpenCL Wiki CUDA Check out the UMD Astronomy Computing Wiki! (In the listings below, a "W" link indicates a Wikipedia entry on the topic is available.) Online Tutorials
