PHY 604: Computational Methods in
Physics and Astrophysics II

Spring 2017

Note: the only prerequisite for this class is that you are able to program in the language of your choice. You do not need to have taken PHY 504 (part I of the sequence).

This class was formerly offered as a special topics class (PHY 688).

Course Information


There will be 7–9 homework assignments throughout the semester.

Grades are posted in the Blackboard gradebook

Lecture notes and online material (by lecture topic):

Notes will be updated throughout the semester, approximately 1 week before each topic is covered.

Course Overview

Basics of Computation

Programming Practices

Differentiation / integration / order-of-accuracy

Interpolation / root-finding


Linear algebra



Advection / hyperbolic PDEs

Laplace & Poisson equations / elliptic PDEs

Diffusion / parabolic PDEs and multiphysics

Computational fluid dynamics

Monte Carlo methods

Parallel computing

Genetic algoritms

What did we learn?