MMU mathematics department members coordinated and implemented the integration of MATLAB throughout the mathematics curriculum. The department provided each student with MATLAB® and Simulink® Student Suite™, enabling students to complete assignments and projects on their own computers.
In their first year, students take Linear Algebra and Programming Skills, in which they use MATLAB to add and subtract matrices, calculate their determinants, and transform them to reduced row echelon form. Students solve problems analytically using Symbolic Math Toolbox™ and learn programming principles and constructs using the MATLAB language.
Professors introduce new concepts in lectures using MATLAB, and students complete assignments in MATLAB during lab sessions.
Two required courses in the second year rely heavily on MATLAB. In the pure math course Mathematical Methods, students study eigenvalues, eigenvectors, and quadratic forms, using MATLAB to plot surfaces and visualize minima, maxima, saddle points, and other stationary points.
For Numerical Methods and Modeling, students use MATLAB to solve differential equations using numerical methods, and work in groups to develop mathematical models that address real-world issues. In one project, they developed population growth models to study the effect of China’s one-child policy, and then presented a final report, including MATLAB plots and results.
The most popular class for MMU math students is Dynamical Simulation and Chaos. This third-year class covers fractals, neuronal systems, and chaotic systems. Later in the course, the students learn how to use Simulink® to simulate many of the systems they modeled in MATLAB. The examination for the course takes place in a computer laboratory with access to MATLAB.
Students use MATLAB not only in required classes but also in several optional courses, where they develop sound and image processing algorithms, apply the Black-Scholes equation to financial data, and create lighting, shading, and reflection models that improve the realism of 3D rendered images.