Course Policy
Math 2984 - Fall 2017
Intro to Mathematical Problem Solving

Instructor: John Burkardt
Office: 3050 Torgersen Hall
Office Hours: 2:00-4:00 Monday/Wednesday, 3050 Torgersen
  2:00-3:30 Friday, Group Study Room, 4th Floor Newman Library
  Other hours by appointment.

Course Number: Math 2984
CRN: 89673
Time: 2:00-3:15, Tuesday/Thursday
Room: 3008 Pamplin Hall
Text: Insight Through Computing, Van Loan and Fan, SIAM Publishing, ISBN: 978-0-898716-91-7
Software: MATLAB
Prerequisites: None

Course Objective: You will learn how to write computer programs using the MATLAB programming language. You will learn how to analyze a scientific problem, express a solution procedure as an algorithm, and to express that algorithm as a computer program. Your new skills will be helpful for later classes in computer science, engineering, mathematics, and other technical fields.

Canvas: The course policy, syllabus, and other materials are made available through the class Canvas site. You are responsible for all class announcements made though this site.

Online resource: The textbook authors have made additional information, slides, and examples available at:

Software: You will need access to the Mathworks MATLAB package in order to follow the lectures and do your homework. MATLAB is available to all Virginia Tech mathematics and engineering students through the Virginia Tech Computing Center. Engineering students might already have MATLAB as part of their software packet. You can get a copy of MATLAB by going to 3240 Torgersen with your HokiePassport, or going to the website: If you are away from your own computer, you can access MATLAB on computers in computer labs on campus, and in the Math Emporium, but you must be careful to save any work you do on such computers.

Grading: Your grade is based on many homework assignments, a midterm exam, and a final project. Homework will count 70%, the exam 15% and the project 15%. Grades will be posted on the course Canvas site. Average grades of 90%, 80%, 70% or 60% will guarantee a course grade of at least A-, B-, C- or D-.

The last day to drop classes is Friday, October 6th.

Assignments: I expect to give about 11 weekly assigments, each one announced or posted by the Thursday class, and due before midnight on Friday of the next week. Completed assignments are to be uploaded to the Canvas page. Until the due date has passed, you can modify your work and upload the revised version.

It is important that students keep up with the material as it is presented. Therefore, except by prior agreement, late assignments will not be accepted for grading. To make up for this strict rule, the two lowest graded assignments will not be counted when computing your final homework average.

Exam: There will be an in-class exam, scheduled for Thursday, September 28th. Students are expected to take the test on the scheduled date. If a student misses an exam for reasons that are serious, unavoidable, and beyond the student's control, the situation will be handled on an individual basis.

Project: The final project will be announced two weeks before the Thanksgiving break. The project takes the place of a final exam, and will be due before midnight on Tuesday, December 12th.

Honor Code Procedures: The Undergraduate Honor Code pledge that each member of the university community agrees to abide by states:

"As a Hokie, I will conduct myself with honor and integrity at all times. I will no lie, chear, or steal, nor will I accept the actions of those who do."
Students enrolled in this course are responsible for abiding by the Honor Code. A student who has doubts about how the Honor Code applies to any assignment is reponsible to obtaining specific guidance from the course instructor before submitting the assignment for evaluation. Ignorance of the rules does not exclude any member of the University community from the requirements and expectations of the Honor Code.

For additional information about the Honor Code, please visit

All assignments submitted shall be considered "graded work", and all aspects of your coursework are covered by the Honor Code. All projects and homework assignments are to be completed individually, unless otherwise specified. Students are allowed to access online material for guidance and reference; however, in no case should such material be copied and presented as the student's work.

Homework assignments may be discussed with other students. However, in writing up an assignment to be handed in, each student is to work alone, without other students, and without the work of other students. The student certifies that what is written accurately represents the student's understanding of the material, expressed in the student's own words.

Special Needs: If you need accommodation because of a documented disability, please arrange to see me as soon as possible.