Course:  Math 170A

Title:  Introduction to Numerical Analysis: Linear Algebra

Lecture:  MWF 12:00--12:50pm in Ledden Auditorium

Discussion Sections:
A01: Thursday 4:00--4:50 pm, AP&M B412 with Francesca Grogan
A02: Thursday 5:00--5:50 pm, AP&M B412 with Francesca Grogan
A03: Thursday 6:00--6:50 pm, AP&M B412 with Jeremy Schmitt
A04: Thursday 7:00--7:50 pm, AP&M B412 with Chao Fan
A05: Thursday 6:00--6:50 pm, AP&M B402A with Yi Luo
A06: Thursday 7:00--7:50 pm, AP&M B402A with Yi Luo

Credit Hours: 4 units

Prerequisite: Math 20F: Linear Algebra

Catalog Description: Analysis of numerical methods for linear algebraic systems and least squares problems. Orthogonalization methods. Ill conditioned problems. Eigenvalue and singular value computations. Three lectures, one recitation. Knowledge of programming recommended.

Textbook: Fundamentals of Matrix Computations, Third Edition, by Watkins.

Subject Material: We will cover parts of Chapers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 8. (See calendar for specific details.)

Reading: Reading the assigned material in advance of each lecture is expected. This will keep the reading interesting and give the lectures more clarity. Reading the sections of the textbook corresponding to the assigned homework exercises is considered part of the homework assignment. You are responsible for material in the assigned reading whether or not it is discussed in the lecture.

Lecture: Attending the lecture is a fundamental part of the course. You are responsible for material presented in the lecture whether or not it is discussed in the textbook. You should expect questions on the exams to test your understanding of concepts discussed in the lecture and in the homework assignments.

Calculators: A calculator is not particularly needed or expected for this class. If you want, a TI-83 or TI-84 (or similar model) suffices for this course, as would any more powerful calculator (such as a TI-89). The calculator should be used only as an aid in learning concepts, not just as a means of computation. Note: The use of calculators will not be permitted during exams.

MATLAB: MATLAB (from "matrix labratory") is a programming language and numerical computing environment often used in applied mathematics and other applications. Many assignments (and even test questions) will be to write short programs for MATLAB. There are four main ways to get access to MATLAB.

  • In the basement of AP&M there are computer labs with Matlab installed on all the computers.
  • You can use a UCSD virtual computer lab (from home or anywhere). You log in with your UCSD credentials. Info here.
  • You can buy a student copy of the software at the bookstore for $99.
  • You can download the free open source version called Octave. Warning, while Octave and MATLAB are designed to be compatible, there are differences, and Octave is at least marginally slower. If you join a project/company that uses one of these tools, you will need to use the one they use. More places use MATLAB than Octave. However, Octave is free, as part of the GNU project, which can be an advantage.

Gradescope: All assignments will be turned in via

  • Your login is your university email, and your password can be changed here.
  • Assignments should be in a single pdf file before being uploaded.
  • Hand written files can be scanned to be uploaded. High resolution is not required.
  • Most word processors can save files as a pdf.
  • There are many tools to combine pdfs, such as here.
  • All grading, including the midterms and final, will be done on Gradescope. Regrade requests can be sent via Gradescope.

Homework: Homework exercises will be assigned Mondays on the course homework page and they are due on the subsequent Monday by noon, i.e., before class begins.

Midterm Exams: There will be two midterm exams, one given on Monday, Oct 19 and the other on Monday, Nov 9 during class (see the course calendar). No calculators or notes will be allowed during the midterm exams. Students will not be allowed to take makeup midterm exams.

Final Examination: The final examination will be held at the following time:

  • 11:30am--2:29pm Thursday, Dec 10 (See the course calendar.)
No calculators or notes will be allowed during the final examination.

Grading: Assignment grades will be posted on Gradescope. Your term grade will be based on the scores of the homework, two midterms, and one final exam with the lowest homework grade dropped. It will calculated as follows:

  • (20% HW) + (20% Midterm) + (20% Midterm) + (40% Final)

Academic Dishonesty: Academic dishonesty is considered a serious offense at UCSD. Students caught cheating will face an administrative sanction which may include suspension or expulsion from the university. It is in your best interest to maintain your academic integrity.

Accomodations: Students with special needs or disabilities must provide an Authorization for Accommodation (AFA) letter issued by the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) as soon as possible. Please call OSD at 858-534-4382 or visit for more information