From CDS 130

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  1. Overview
  2. Class Notes
    1. Wednesday, May 11th
    2. Monday, May 9th
    3. Friday, May 6th
    4. Wednesday, May 4th
    5. Monday, May 2nd
    6. Friday, April 29th
    7. Wednesday, April 27th
    8. Monday, April 25th
    9. Friday, April 22nd
    10. Wednesday, April 20th
    11. Monday, April 18th
    12. Friday, April 15th
    13. Wednesday, April 13th
    14. Monday, April 11th
    15. Friday, April 8th
    16. Wednesday, April 6th
    17. Monday, April 4th
    18. Friday, April 1st
    19. Wednesday, March 30th
    20. Monday, March 28th
    21. Friday, March 25th
    22. Wednesday, March 23rd
    23. Monday, March 21st
    24. Friday, March 11th
    25. Wednesday, March 9th
    26. Monday, March 7th
    27. Friday, March 4th
    28. Wednesday, March 2nd
    29. Monday, February 28th
    30. Friday, February 25th
    31. Wednesday, February 23rd
    32. Monday, February 21st
    33. Friday, February 18th
    34. Wednesday, February 16th
    35. Monday, February 14th
    36. Friday, February 11th
    37. Wednesday, February 9th
    38. Monday, February 7th
    39. Friday, February 4th
    40. Wednesday, February 2nd
    41. Monday, January 31st
    42. Friday, January 28th
    43. Wednesday, January 26th
    44. Monday, January 24th
  3. FAQ
    1. As a neuroscience major, what can I learn from this course?
    2. Exactly what kind of problems will I be able to solve?
    3. Am I qualified for this course?
    4. How much programming is needed?
    5. What if I have a question about homeworks and am having difficulty understanding the course content?
    6. Do we have a textbook for this course?
  4. Syllabus
    1. Format
    2. Homeworks
    3. Draft Schedule

1. Overview

This is the web page for CDS 130, Section 002 (Monday/Wednesday/Friday at 10:30 am) given in Spring 2011 with Dr. Sheng. If this is not your course then you are in the wrong place! See http://cds130.org/#Sections to find your web page.

The purpose of this image is to remind you of a very important point.  Always start at http:/cds130.org/ and click on the link for your class below the yellow highlighted text to arrive at this page.  Always check this page to determine due dates for assignments and to see announcements.
The purpose of this image is to remind you of a very important point. Always start at http:/cds130.org/ and click on the link for your class below the yellow highlighted text to arrive at this page. Always check this page to determine due dates for assignments and to see announcements.

2. Class Notes

2.1. Wednesday, May 11th

2.2. Monday, May 9th

  • Reading day
  • Help sessions to be held.

2.3. Friday, May 6th

  • Review sessions
  • Discuss Sample Final Exam and homework problems.

2.4. Wednesday, May 4th

2.5. Monday, May 2nd

2.6. Friday, April 29th

2.7. Wednesday, April 27th

2.8. Monday, April 25th

2.9. Friday, April 22nd

2.10. Wednesday, April 20th

2.11. Monday, April 18th

Note: There will be a 20-minute in-class quiz this Friday. We will focus on if-statements and nested for-loops. The problems given in the quiz will be similar to what you are given in the homeworks and class notes. The quiz is worth 10 points and will be considered as extra exam credit added to your final exam scores. You are not allowed to use Matlab during the quiz.

2.12. Friday, April 15th

2.13. Wednesday, April 13th

2.14. Monday, April 11th


The password problem was designed to fulfill one of the IT requirements. This problem, however, helps train our computational thinking, and can be better exploited to practice nested for loops. This problem is now an extra-credit problem worth 5 points. The due date is next Friday (April 22th) before class.

2.15. Friday, April 8th

2.16. Wednesday, April 6th


  1. To review homework problems in HW5 and HW6;
  2. To answer questions that cannot be explained at length in class;
  3. To further explain the concepts of fprintf, fill, plot, and nested for loops.


  1. Session I: 8:00 AM -- 10:00 AM; Tutor: Dr. Joe Marr
  2. Session II: 1:00 PM -- 3:00 PM; Tutor: Dr. Howard Sheng


The help sessions are not mandatory. We decide to have two sessions because some students may find it difficult to attend the session in the morning or in the afternoon. Feel free to attend either of them.

2.17. Monday, April 4th

  • Recitation on HW6
  • Review Images, plots, nested for loops and fprintf

2.18. Friday, April 1st

2.19. Wednesday, March 30th

2.20. Monday, March 28th

2.21. Friday, March 25th

2.22. Wednesday, March 23rd

2.23. Monday, March 21st

2.24. Friday, March 11th

2.25. Wednesday, March 9th

2.26. Monday, March 7th

  • Matrices as images
  • A color slider
  • Mid-term review worksheet and sample exam questions will be distributed in class.

2.27. Friday, March 4th

  • Maxtrices as images
  • A color slider
  • Assign HW5 (due after spring break, March 25th).
  • Class on next Wed. (Mar. 9th) will be a review session for Mid-term exam, led by Dr. Marr.
  • Mid-term exam will be on next Friday (Mar. 11th) in class (50 minutes).
    • You will be expected to answer 25 multiple-choice or short-answer questions for the exam.
    • The truth tables for AND, OR and NOT will not be provided for the exam.
    • You'll be expected to interpret and write simple Matlab codes.
    • A Mid-term review worksheet will be given next Monday.

2.28. Wednesday, March 2nd

2.29. Monday, February 28th

2.30. Friday, February 25th

  • Due date for HW4 is postponed to next Monday.
  • As of today, the classroom is changed to IN 222 (permanently).
  • Continue on MATLAB tutorials. MATLAB slides and code worksheet are distributed.
  • Matrix and iterations
  • Midterm exam is tentatively set on March 11th.

2.31. Wednesday, February 23rd

  • Tutorials on MATLAB by Dr. Joe Marr.
  • Classroom is changed to IN 323 for today's class.

2.32. Monday, February 21st

2.33. Friday, February 18th

2.34. Wednesday, February 16th

2.35. Monday, February 14th

Finish Logic Gates and Transistors

2.36. Friday, February 11th

2.37. Wednesday, February 9th

2.38. Monday, February 7th

2.39. Friday, February 4th

2.40. Wednesday, February 2nd

2.41. Monday, January 31st

2.42. Friday, January 28th

  • If the weather permits, I will introduce MediaWiki.
  • HW1 will be assigned, due on Feb. 4th.

2.43. Wednesday, January 26th

2.44. Monday, January 24th

  • Today I will give a broad overview of Computational Science (Introduction).

3. FAQ

3.1. As a neuroscience major, what can I learn from this course?

First off, allow me to quote from Archimedes "Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world."

Through this course, we strive to provide a computational lever for you. With competencies in each major, I hope you eventually will be able to solve science problems such as:

  • Neuronscience: Understanding the visual cortex of the brain [1].
  • Biology: Solving problems of protein folding and structure [2]
  • Chemistry: Designing molecules [3]
  • Earth Science: Studying solid earth dynamics [4]

3.2. Exactly what kind of problems will I be able to solve?

To get a taste of it, here are two examples students worked on later in the last semester Tumor | Antialias.

3.3. Am I qualified for this course?

If you are concerned with math, most likely you are qualified for this course, provided that you understand

  • Trigonometry and Transcendental Functions
  • Some mathematical concepts to simplify science problems

3.4. How much programming is needed?

There is no requirement on programming languages.

In this course, a high-level computing language Matlab will be taught. Matlab is a powerful mathematical tool that offers a computing environment for numerical computation, graphics and visualization.

Students may access and use MATLAB without charge either on campus or from any computer with an internet connection. There are three ways to use Matlab at Mason:

  1. Via access to the virtual computing lab at Mason
  2. Matlab is installed on all computers in various computer labs on campus. Simply log on, and there is Matlab.
  3. Install Matlab on your personal computer. A $109-dollar student version of MATLAB may be purchased at Patriot Computers.

Tutorials on accessing and using Matlab will be given to students as class progresses.

3.5. What if I have a question about homeworks and am having difficulty understanding the course content?

  • My office hours will be held following each class or by appointment (hsheng@gmu.edu). My office is located in Research I, Room 370.
  • The T.A. of this course is Dr. Joseph Marr (jmarr2@gmu.edu). Dr. Marr will grade your homeworks and exams, and answer questions as well. While Dr. Marr can be reached by email and text or by a 'rolling' appointment, he prefers personal interaction with students. Usually he will be available after class and would like to interact with students using the whiteboard in Research I, Rm 302. Over the semester, several tutoring sections will be held to work on difficult problems.
  • Special announcements will be made through an email list, such as assignments, due dates, upcoming exams, tutorials, etc.
  • A group page has been set up on Facebook. If you have a Facebook page, welcome to join the group.

3.6. Do we have a textbook for this course?

None. The course "Computing for Scientists" was newly approved as a general education course at GMU. It has been co-developed by several faculty members at the CDS department. A wiki page (cds130.org) was created for this course in 2010 by Dr. Weigel. There are two sections (section 1 & section 2) in Spring 2011. All course materials covered in the current section can be obtained from http://cds130.org/2011S002.

The wiki page was designed to facilitate student interaction and to fulfill the IT requirements.

4. Syllabus

My syllabus is everything stated at Syllabus along with the following additions and notes.

4.1. Format

This is a three-credit course. Active learning techniques will be used during my lectures. After presenting a major concept I will pose a question which you will think about, discuss with your neighbor, and then possibly present your answers.

Be inquisitive and vocal during class.

4.2. Homeworks

  • Are 40% of your grade!
  • Weekly Homeworks. Assigned on Friday, due on next Friday before class
  • Will partially work many difficult problems in class
  • Most homeworks will be hand-written in the first half of the semester
  • Most homeworks will be turned in electronically in the second half of the semester
  • Late penalty = 20% if late by less than 7 days; 40% if more than 7 days late

4.3. Draft Schedule

(Red links are for pages that are not complete)

Retrieved from "http://cds130.org//2011S002"
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