MAT 317: Experimental Analysis

Contact Information

Instructor: Marc Chamberland
Office: 2522 Noyce
Phone: 269-4207

Office Hours

MWF 3:00-4:00
TR 1:00-2:00

Text (pdf) available in Grinnell College library

Introduction to Maple, 3e
Andre Heck


Worksheet 1 (August 25)

Course Description

The pure mathematican has traditionally solved problems by "paper and pencil." While the use of computers has changed our world in many respects, this has not (with few exceptions) come back to help pure mathematicians in their research. This course will show how computers can be leveraged to study problems connected to analysis, including problems in integration, infinite series, difference equations, chaos theory, and root finding. The common thread is using the computer algebra system Maple, with its symbolic, numerical and visual capabilities, to formulate conjectures, find counter-examples, and even aid in constructing proofs.

Learning Outcomes

The broad learning goals of the course are: • Mastering the use of Maple, a powerful computer algebra system • Becoming familiar with the experimental paradigm of conducting mathematical research, including modern computational tools and algorithms, and a significant research project.


Unlike a traditional math class, the classes will be in a computer lab. Interspersed in the lectures, you will explore (individually and in small groups) problems in Maple worksheets. During class, I expect students to be attentive, ask questions, and be willing to work with others. I regular pose questions and would like every student to be engaged. Cell phones should be put away.


There will be several homework assignments (particularly in the first part of the semester), a mini-project, and a main final project. These projects will involve classroom presentations. Homework is due on the indicated day, handed in at the beginning of class. Late homework will be penalized.


There will be no tests.

Academic Honesty

Grinnell College's Academic Honesty policy is located in the Student Handbook available online. It is the College's expectation that students be aware of and meet the expectations expressed in this policy. In this course, you are allowed to work with others on the homework but you should acknowledge at the top of your assignment who you worked with.


I encourage students with documented disabilities, including invisible disabilities such as chronic illness, learning disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with me. You will also need to have a conversation about and provide documentation of your disability to the Coordinator for Disability Resources, located on the ground level floor of Steiner Hall (641-269-3124).


Assignments (40%)
Mini-project (15%)
Final Project (40%)
Participation (5%)


Assignment 1