Astronomy 615: Spring 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 0201 Lectures: Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30pm to 1:45pm First class: Tu Jan 28 Last class: Tu May 13
What's New?
April 29: Problem Set #6 posted (the last one!). 
April 15: Problem Set #5 posted. 
March 27: Problem Set #4 posted. 
March 13: MIDTERM 
March 6: Problem Set #3 posted (due March 25th). 
Feb 20: Problem Set #2 posted (due March 4th). 
Feb 18: Tutorial on GNU's GDB Debugger and Pointers. 
Feb 13: Play with C examples. 
Feb 11: Problem Set #1 posted (due Feb 18th). 
Jan 30: Survey result posted. 
Jan 28: First class 
Contact info and Notes
 Office: PSC 1156
 Email: ricotti "at" astro "dot" umd "dot" edu
 Phone: (301) 405 5097
 Office hours: TBD or by appointment
 Class web page: http://www.astro.umd.edu/~ricotti/NEWWEB/teaching/current.html
Course Outline
The Syllabus is available in HTML and PDF format.
Date  Lecture  Reading (NRiC)  Lecture Notes  

#1  Jan 28  Introduction to the course     
#2  Jan 30  Computer architecture  Computer architecture  class02.pdf 
#3  Feb 04  Introduction to UNIX  tutorial   
#4  Feb 06  Introduction to C  1.11.2, tutorial   
#5  Feb 11  Introduction to C (cont.)  1.11.2, tutorial   
#6  Feb 13  Introduction to visualization  tutorial  class05.pdf 
#7  Feb 18  Data representation  1.3  class05.pdf 
#8  Feb 20  Linear algebra, part 1 (GaussJordan elimination)  2.02.3  class06.pdf 
#9  Feb 25  Linear algebra, part 2 (LU & SVD decomposition)  2.42.6  class07.pdf 
#10  Feb 27  Root finding in 1D  9.09.1, 9.4, 9.6  class08.pdf 
#11  Mar 04  Root finding in multiD, and numerical differentiation  5.7  class09.pdf 
#12  Mar 06  Statistics and the KS test  14.014.3  class10.pdf 
#13  Mar 11  Leastsquares fitting  15.015.2, 15.415.5  class11.pdf 
  Mar 13  MIDTERM     
  Mar 18  no class Spring Break     
  Mar 20  no class Spring Break     
#14  Mar 25  Random numbers and cryptography  7.07.2  class12.pdf 
#15  Apr 01  Numerical integration  7.6, 4.04.4, 4.6  class13.pdf 
#16  Apr 03  Integration of ODEs, part 1 (IVPs)  16.016.1  class14.pdf 
#17  Apr 08  Integration of ODEs, part 2 (leapfrog)    class15.pdf 
#18  Apr 10  Integration of ODEs, part 3 (stiff ODEs & 2pt BVPs)  16.6, 17.0  class16.pdf 
#19  Apr 15  Integration of ODEs, part 4    class17.pdf 
#20  Apr 17  Nbody techniques, part 1    class18.pdf 
#21  Apr 22  Nbody techniques, part 2 (PP)  19.0, 19.419.6  class19.pdf 
#22  Apr 24  Nbody techniques, part 3 and 4 (PM)    class20.pdfclass21.pdf< 
#23  Apr 29  Integration of PDEs, part 1 (ell & hyp)  19.2  class22.pdf 
#24  May 01  Integration of PDEs, part 2 (hyp & par)  19.2  class23.pdf 
#26  May 06  Fluid dynamics, part 1 (eqns)  19.3  class24.pdf 
#27  May 08  Fluid dynamics, part 2 (methods)    class25.pdf 
#28  May 13  Parallel Computing (CPU and GPU)     
  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 50%
 Midterm 20%
 Final 30%
Note that the homework is the most important part of the class. However, because this is a graduate class, there will be 2 questions in the qualifyer exam concerning this class. So, midterm and final are a necessary evil to prepare you for the qualifyer. 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 HTML and 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  Feb 11  Feb 18  HTML/PDF  
#2  Feb 20  Mar 4  HTML/PDF  
#3  March 6  March 25  HTML/PDF  data 
#4  March 27  April 10  HTML/PDF  
#5  April 15  April 24  HTML/PDF  
#6  April 29  May 13  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
