Introduction to Numerical Methods and Matlab Programming for Engineers
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These notes were developed by the first author in the process of teaching a course on applied numerical methods for Civil Engineering majors during 2002-2004 and was modified to include Mechanical Engineering in 2005. The materials have been periodically updated since then and underwent a major revision by the second author in 2006-2007.
The main goals of these lectures are to introduce concepts of numerical methods and introduce Matlab in an Engineering framework. By this we do not mean that every problem is a “real life” engineering application, but more that the engineering way of thinking is emphasized throughout the discussion.
The philosophy of this book was formed over the course of many years. My father was a Civil Engineer and surveyor, and he introduced me to engineering ideas from an early age. At the University of Kentucky I took most of the basic Engineering courses while getting a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. Immediately afterward I completed a M.S. degree in Engineering Mechanics at Kentucky. While working on my Ph.D. in Mathematics at Georgia Tech I taught all of the introductory math courses for engineers. During my education, I observed that incorporation of computation in coursework had been extremely unfocused and poor. For instance during my college career I had to learn 8 different programming and markup languages on 4 different platforms plus numerous other software applications. There was almost no technical help provided in the courses and I wasted innumerable hours figuring out software on my own. A typical, but useless, inclusion of software has been (and still is in most calculus books) to set up a difficult ‘applied’ problem and then add the line “write a program to solve” or “use a computer algebra system to solve”.
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