Numerical and Mathematical Methods in Chemical and Biological Engineering

Description: Lecture, four hours; discussion, one hour; outside study, seven hours. Enforced requisite: Civil and Environmental Engineering M20 or Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering M20. Enforced corequisite: course 101A. Numerical methods for computation of solution of systems or linear and nonlinear algebraic equations, ordinary differential equations, and partial equations. Chemical and biomolecular engineering examples used throughout to illustrate application of these methods. Use of MATLAB as platform (programming environment) to write programs based on numerical methods to solve various problems arising in chemical engineering. Letter grading.

Units: 4.0
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Overall Rating N/A
Easiness N/A/ 5
Clarity N/A/ 5
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Overall Rating 3.9
Easiness 2.6/ 5
Clarity 4.0/ 5
Workload 2.3/ 5
Helpfulness 3.5/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Fall 2019 - Solid class. My one and only problem with it is that Christofides is a bit behind the times. You show up, take notes on what he writes in class, and review your notes. There's no other resources in the class. No notes posted online, no list of stuff to review for tests, no real way to make up for missing a class or two other than office hours. Because of that, it's a harder class for a commuter like myself. Still, it's more than doable. I did admittedly get a sad grade (seems like ~1/2 the class gets A's), but it's fine and really my own decision to focus less on this class. The class has weekly homeworks (10%), one MATLAB project (10%) and two tests (MT/FNL = 30/50). Christofides is one of the better lecturers in the department IMO. He's really adamant about getting his very structured thoughts out on the board before anyone asks anything ("Please wait a minute!") which I sort of appreciate. You can tell he has a bunch of years teaching this class under his belt and knows what students are going to ask next and where the pitfalls are. He will legitimately have no problem reiterating the same point for 2 hrs if the class doesn't understand (No "We have to move on to cover all the material I had for you guys today" bullshit.) Though both the material and his personality are a bit dry, his teaching has enough quality to keep you engaged. He has strong familiarity with the subject and really knows his shit, and better yet, how to teach his shit. And I know from experience that a professor mastering their craft =/= a professor able to teach the stuff. Christofides is both! The material is not hard. You study a bunch of tools that an engineer might use to solve problems that can be best solved using a computer (we're typically talking about iterative methods to build or solve equations). The tests don't demand a lot of your theoretical knowledge of how each method works--just crunch the numbers using one of the MANY methods taught in class with speed and precision. You can study the conditions of Jacobian convergence all night, but that might be worth 2 pts on the exam, max. Don't study so much as practice doing each method by hand--the exam is a time crunch. If you have to think before starting a problem (they're straightforward and even tell you what to use), that's not ideal. Being able to iterate the first 2 steps of a Jacobian problem is WAY better than knowing all the little theory facts about the Jacobian method, though the latter is still somewhat important. Homework is slightly bothersome, but honestly the same amount of work as any other engineering homework... unless you have the past solutions sheets that are floating around. Project is similar, but still very time consuming any way you cut it... I'd say expect a ballpark of 12 hrs work to complete it honestly. The real bitch in the project is generating a Jacobian matrix for a fairly large matrix (>20 element dimensions). The rest is cake. Overall, I honestly liked the class. The workload is reasonable, Christofides is a great lecturer, and the exams are very fair. Again, my only problem is that there's no book to read or online notes to download if you miss a class. Unless you have friends in the class, you're SOL. This can be helped by studying the stuff online if you know the general topics he taught, but a good portion of the stuff is obscure and hard to find good resources for learning online (really). The best advice I can offer is to religiously attend classes, ocassionally attend an office hours, and drill yourself for speed and accuracy to prepare for tests. The tests matter most. Get comfy with your calculator. 4/5
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