Wei Zhu


Telephone: 713-348-2867

Office: Herman Brown Hall Basement 47

Office hour: Tuesday, Thursday 12:00-1:30pm and by appointment

Time: Tuesday & Thursday 9:25-10:40 AM

Location: Herman Brown 453

TA: Christian Brunn, Jon Fickenscher and Carolyn Otto

Help session: Sunday, Monday 7:00-9:00pm at BL123, Wednesday 7:00-9:00pm at DH1075

Lab session: Thursday 7:00-9:00pm at SH101

Syllabus:   here


This course focuses on ordinary differential equations and some of their many applications. We will take several approaches, including both analytic and numerical solution methods, as well as qualitative methods which enable us to discover properties of solutions without actually having a formula.

Matrix algebra will be a useful tool, and we will cover parts of this subject which will be necessary for us. Throughout the course, we will utilize MATLAB and/or some other computer algebra system for visualization and numerical computation.

Differential equations are widely used to model phenomena that arise in the sciences and engineering. We will discuss as many of these models as we have time for. We will also spend a little time discussing the modeling process itself.


There are two books required for the course.

  • The textbook is Differential Equations, second edition by John C. Polking, Albert Boggess, and David Arnold. (ISBN:0131437380)
  • The lab manual is Ordinary Differential Equations using MATLAB (third edition) by David Arnold and John C. Polking.

The textbook and the third edition of the lab manual are available in a shrink wrapped package in the bookstore for the price of the textbook alone. Also, individual chapters of the third edition are available online.

Computer and owlnet information

Schedule and Homework Assignments

Homework Solutions:

Grading Policy:

The final grade for the course will be determined by your performance on the homework, the two midterm exams, the final exam and final project according to the following algorithm:

Homework 20%
Two midterms 20% each, Final 30%
Project 10%


Homework Policies:

There will be a homework assignment each class. The homework is due the next day in class.

The homework is not pledged. You are encouraged to discuss the homework and to work together on the problems. However, each student is responsible for the final preparation of his or her own homework papers.

Each student will be allowed to have at most one late homework assignment.

Special needs:

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

Exams from Previous Semesters