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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE2250 Numerical Methods and Statistics

10 creditsClass Size: 38

Module manager: Dr Stephen Stackhouse

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21


SOEE1160Comp & Prog in Geosciences

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Numerical methods and statistics play a fundamental role in all aspects of geophysical research. This module teaches students the basic techniques needed for careful analysis of experimental data and solving numerical problems.The students will be introduced to the mathematical methods in the lectures and translate these into Python programs in the practical sessions.


The objective of the first part of the module is to introduce students to the most common numerical methods, both theory and implementation in Python. The objective of the second part is for students to learn how to handle and report data with uncertainties in an appropriate manner.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Design and implement computer programs to solve numerical problems that would be impossible or time-consuming to complete by hand, and understand their limitations.

2. Derive expressions for simple numerical methods.

3. Solve mathematical problems via recall or use of the appropriate numerical method for finding the roots or optima of functions, solving linear systems of equations, interpolating values, performing numerical integration and differentiation, and solving initial-value and boundary-value problems.

4. State the advantage and disadvantages of different numerical methods and, where appropriate, conditions required for convergence.

5. Handle and report data with uncertainties in an appropriate manner.


Numerical methods
1. Errors in Numerical Methods
2. Finding Roots
3. One-Dimensional Optimisation
4. Linear Systems - Direct Methods
5. Linear Systems - Iterative Methods
6. Interpolation
7. Numerical Integration
8. Numerical Differentiation
9. Initial-Value Problems
10. Boundary-Value Problems.
1. Error Representation
2. Error Propagation
3. Statistical Analysis
4. Normal Distribution
5. Least-Squares Fitting.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours45.00
Total Contact hours55.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Students will be expected to spend time reviewing course material, completing the problems sets and practicals, and practising computer programming.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Problems sets will be given out in the lectures and reviewed in subsequent lectures. Students will receive oral and written feedback on their computer programs.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentComputer programming assessment40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)40.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Unseen exam 1 hr 30 mins60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

Students who fail the module will be required to resit any failed component.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/08/2020 08:46:33


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