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2020/21 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

MATH5366M Advanced Mathematical Methods

20 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr Stephen Griffiths

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

Pre-requisite qualifications

MATH2375 or equivalent.

This module is mutually exclusive with

MATH3365Mathematical Methods

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module aims to describe how precise approximations - ie ones in which the error is both understood and controllable - can be obtained using analytical (rather than numerical) techniques.


On completion of this module, students should be armed with numerous mathematical, rather than computational, techniques for solving a wide variety of initial-value and boundary-value problems that arise in the modelling of realistic phenomena in diverse scientific areas.

In particular, students will be able to solve frequently occurring small-parameter problems using a combination of asymptotic methods such as matching, multiple scales (in space and time), and series approximations, and the advanced topics should form a solid foundation for potential research students.


The governing equations of mathematical models often involve features that make it impossible to obtain their exact solution, eg:
- the occurrence of a complicated algebraic equation
- the occurrence of a complicated integral
- varying coefficients in a differential equation
- an awkwardly shaped boundary
- a non-linear term in a differential equation.

When a large or small parameter occurs in a mathematical model of a process there are various methods of constructing perturbation expansions for the solution of the governing equations. Often the terms in the perturbation expansions are governed by simpler equations for which exact solution techniques are available.

Even if exact solutions cannot be obtained, the numerical methods used to solve the perturbation equations approximately are often easier to construct than the numerical approximation for the original governing equations.

Moreover, analytic perturbation approximations often constitute a powerful validation of any numerical model that might be employed.

Topics include:
- Asymptotic approximations
- Algebraic equations
- Iintegrals
- Rregular perturbations in PDEs
- Boundary layers
- Matched asymptotic expansions
- Strained co-ordinates
- Multiple scales
- Accelerated convergence
- Asymptotic expansion of integrals
- Approximate solution of difference equations.

Advanced topics covered by directed reading:
- Choice from exponential asymptotics
- WKB theory and
- Integral-equation methods.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Studying and revising of course material.
Completing of assignments and assessments.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Worksheets (with feedback and model solutions).

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Open Book exam3 hr 100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

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

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/08/2020 08:42:08


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