Math 211:

Ordinary Differential Equations and Linear Algebra

Fall 2005: August 22 - December 2


We will examine ordinary differential equations (ODEs). These arise naturally in the study of dynamical systems, and they pervade much of modern mathematics. We will cover basic qualitative methods as well as several explicit analytical methods to handle some common cases. In studying systems of ODEs, we shall need some linear algebra, and the necessary background will be introduced also. This course does not assume familiarity with linear algebra. Throughout the course, we will utilize MATLAB and/or some other computer algebra system for visualization and numerical computation.


Topics Covered


Name: Jer-Chin (Luke) Chuang
Office: Hermann Brown 50 (basement)
Office Hours: R1-2:30PM, F1:30-3PM or by appointment
Phone: X-2841 or 713-320-0757
E-mail: lukec [at] math [dot] rice [dot] edu

Class Location

MWF 11-11:50 A.M. Hermann Brown 453


The primary textbook is Ordinary Differential Equations by John C. Polking, Albert Boggess, and David Arnold. An optional (supplementary) text is Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos by Steven H. Strogatz. Problems will be assigned from both texts, but their purchase is not necessary. Copies of both texts are available on course reserves at Fondren Library.

The lab manual is Ordinary Differential Equations using MATLAB (third edition) by David Arnold and John C. Polking. Individual chapters of the third edition are also available here.

Computer and owlnet information

Computer labs are available in Ryon 102 and in the Mudd Building adjacent. You will need an Owlnet account (see below).

Diagnostic Exam

At the end of the first class meeting, an optional diagnostic exam will be handed out. It will cover material from single-variable calculus that will be assumed in this course. Students who have difficulty completing the exam are advised to review the relevant material or consider taking this course another time.

Homework Policies

Suggested problems will be assigned regularly. No homework will be collected or graded. Where available, solutions keys will be provided. Students will be required to pledge that they will not distribute the solution keys to students of other sections present or future.

Collaboration is encouraged, but please remember that students will be evaluated individually. I will gladly correct (not grade!) homework problems during office hours. Of course, I recommend working as many problems as needed to feel proficient with the material.

Homework Assignments


There will be hour-long take-home quizzes (50-points each) every other Wednesday throughout the course. The lowest score on these evaluations will be dropped. Quizzes are cumulative and reflect material assigned in homework or presented in class. Please do not slack!

Furthermore, there will be three projects (100 point each). These provide opportunities for students to synthesize the various mathematical concepts in "real-world" problems and to practice clear, concise scientific writing.

Special needs

Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments or accommodations: Please speak with me during the first two weeks of class. All discussions will remain confidential. Students with disabilities will also need to contact Disability Support Services in the Ley Student Center.