Mathematical Modeling

Fall 1999

Bard Ermentrout


Instructor: Bard Ermentrout

Grading Policy

All homework is due the week following the assignment. Grades will be based on:

The book is Mathematical Models in Biology by Leah Edelstein-Keshet, but I will be supplementing the material with lots of other things.


The syllabus is rather flexible at this point and will develop as the course goes on. I will first determine how much preparatory material is required. There is no extra knowledge required about bniology and I will introduce all the concepts as needed. Here is a rough outline of what I will cover in the course.

Additional Info

A central part of the course will be a project in which you choose some sort of physical, social, or biological system and create a mathematical model of it to explain some aspect of the system. For example, in the past, some students have looked at chemical oscillation models, some have modeled simple mechanical toys, some have modeled vampires. By the middle of the term, you should be thinking about a project.

There will homework of several varieties. Much of it will be taken from the book but there will be a substantial amount of homework which you can do on the computer that will allow you to simulate different systems. I will describe these later on in the term, but they will likely involve your using the computer and your brains to solve some applied problems that arise in applications. I have not specified any particular software package to use for the course but I will introduce you to a piece of software that I wrote that allows you to solve and animate ODEs, PDEs, and all the kinds of equations you will encounter in the course. It is available for both Windows 95 and Unix platforms and is free. Some of the projects may involve the use of software; I will introduce its use to you during the course of the semester. The software is available in some of the labs.


Go to my home page to download the latest versions of my software. Here is a quick guide as well as some practice problems. There is a fuller tutorial available for UNIX as well as one for the Windows 95 version.