Computer aided teaching of applied mathematics
The CATAM project at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, aims to improve the teaching of applied mathematics already given by the Department, by using a computer to supplement analytical techniques. In the lecture room, calculations are performed rapidly allowing teacher and student to concentrate on the mathematical and physical significance of the results. In a practical class, the student can investigate a problem computationally. Graphical displays are essential for rapid assimilation of results.
The computing system needed and developed since 1968 is described. Two practical courses have been developed. The first teaches programming and basic numerical methods with examples drawn from other fields of applied mathematics. The second continues this, and then offers a choice of computational projects drawn from the whole field of applied mathematics. Both courses are optional and much enjoyed by students. Computer demonstrations have been developed and used in a variety of lecture courses throughout the Mathematics Tripos.
The project has demonstrated that computational facilities are an immensely valuable aid to the teaching of applied mathematics.
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