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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: February 2011



This book contains the material used in our advanced course on Scientific Computation at the ETH (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule), Zürich, Switzerland. This course is a third year course in the Department of Computer Science (Informatik).

The material is presented in a non-traditional way by solving several, reasonably realistic problems. Optimization techniques, modelling, simulation and more mathematical subjects are introduced as needed to solve these problems. We believe that this helps students understand the methods in some of their appropriate contexts, and hence gives a more comprehensive view of scientific computation.

When necessary we have indicated in the outside margin the kind of material.

BASIC The very basics necessary to understand the following material.

ADVANCED Advanced material going beyond the average scope of the book.

EXAMPLE Worked out examples.

PRACTICAL NOTE Practical notes, usually derived from our experience with scientific computation.

BACKGROUND Background material which explains the history or rationale of a given topic or research area.


This book consists of eight chapters and two appendixes. In each of the eight chapters one problem is treated. Appendix A contains mathematical background on minimization methods, and Appendix B lists online resources.

Here is an overview of the problems and the academic goals addressed in the various chapters.