Skip to main content

Unit information: Numerical Analysis 2 in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Numerical Analysis 2
Unit code MATH20700
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Sieber
Open unit status Not open

MATH11002 and MATH11003



School/department School of Mathematics
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

This unit constitutes an introduction to numerical analysis. The topics covered are: approximation of functions; orthogonal polynomials; quadrature; discretisation of the initial value problem for ordinary differential equations; iterative solution of linear and nonlinear systems of equations.


To introduce students to the basics of numerical analysis; this is broadly the study of how to use computers to solve mathematical problems.


  • Root finding. Linear systems: Gaussian elimination and LU decomposition. Nonlinear equations: bisection, fixed point iteration, Newton-Raphson, accelerating convergence. Systems of nonlinear equations, Newton's method, steepest descent.
  • Numerical differentiation and integration. Interpolation polynomial, trapezoidal rule, Simpson's rule, Richardson's extrapolation, Romberg integration, Gaussian quadrature.
  • Ordinary differential equations
    • Initial value problems: Euler's methods, Runge-Kutta methods, multistep methods, stability, time stability, stiffness.
    • Boundary value problems: Shooting, finite difference methods, spectral methods.

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit, students should be able to

  • solve nonlinear equations
  • numerically differentiate;
  • evaluate complicated integrals and
  • estimate the solutions to ordinary differential equations to any required accuracy.

Transferable Skills:

Computational techniques; interpretation of computational results; relation of numerical results to mathematical theory.

Teaching Information

Lectures; weekly or fortnightly problems classes; theoretical and computational exercises to be done by students.

Assessment Information

The final assessment mark will be entirely based upon a 2½-hour examination in May/June (details below).

Summer Examination

The examination in May/June consists of a 2 ½-hour written examination consisting of FIVE questions; you should attempt FOUR. If you attempt more than four, your best four answers will be used for assessment. Calculators of the approved type (non-programmable, no text facility) are permitted in the examination.

Reading and References

A good text which covers most of the course is:

  • R.L. Burden and J.D. Faires, Numerical Analysis (PWS-Kent) (QA297 BUR)

Other texts that may be helpful to students looking for an alternative point of view on the material:

  • J. Stoer and R. Bulirsch, Introduction to Numerical Analysis (QA297 STO)
  • G. Dahlquist, A.Bjorck, and N. Anderson, Numerical Methods (Prentice) (QA297 DAH)
  • C.F. Gerald and P.O.Wheatley, Applied Numerical Analysis (Addison-Wesley (QA297 GER)

Many other books can be found in the numerical analysis section (books QA297 ***).