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Course Description

Differential equations, ODEs or PDEs, can be solved by general methods, and in this course you will learn how to write a solver for your favourite differential equation.

You are free to choose your own project. The work is presented at the end of the course in the form of a report and a short seminar. Suggestions for projects will be given, some more oriented towards programming, and some towards mathematical modeling.

At the beginning of the course, there will be a short series of lectures, giving a brief overview of some important issues related to numerical approximation of PDEs, including the finite element method, and issues related to computer implementation of such algorithms. We will also discuss C++ programming in Unix (or GNU/Linux) environments.

You are expected to have some knowledge of either C++ or MATLAB programming (At least you should be willing to learn during the course.). If you prefer to program in another language that is also ok, but then you are more or less on your own. You can choose to do your projects within DOLFIN, which is an open-source platform developed at the Department of Mathematical Sciences.


You are encouraged to find your own literature on your subject of interest, but a good starting point is Computational Differential Equations by Eriksson, Estep, Hansbo, and Johnson, or Applied Mathematics: Body and Soul by Eriksson, Estep, and Johnson.

In C++ you could start with Thinking in C++ by Eckel, which is available on the net, C++ Primer by Lippman, which is a bit old but good, or C++ direkt by Skansholm , if you read swedish. A good reference book is The C++ Programming Language by Stroustrup.


We prefer to answer questions by email. If you need to meet us for a discussion, we are available at our offices between 10-12 each Tuesday or 10-12 each Friday. Please send an e-mail to book time.

Progress reports

All groups have to give two mandatory project reports in study week 4 and week 6. The time and place are the same as the consultation time, i.e. 10-12 Tuesday or 10-12 Friday. Please send an e-mail to book time.


You can choose to do your projects within DOLFIN. Hopefully your projects will contribute to further improvement of the code.


Alternatively, you can use Puffin, which is a minimal version of DOLFIN for Matlab/Octave.