Math 450 - Introduction to modelling

This is the web page for Math 450, taught by Tim Reluga in the spring semester of 2016.

We will learn to model problems and systems using mathematics and computers. We'll be using the python computer language (which I will teach everybody at the start of the course). We'll cover statistical models, cellular automata models, and classical applied-math models. We'll also discuss the nature of modelling, based on readings from Nate Silver's Signal and the Noise.

Course syllabus

Office hours will be Mondays, 1:30 - 2:30, or by appointment.

Computer labs: Jan. 20 and 22, 216 Osmond



  1. Partner presentation of a new use of python for us.

Computer labs

For a formal, structured introduction to computer programming using python, MIT's online course Introduction to Computer Science and Programming is a very helpful reference. Check it out, if you feel like you need more background.


  1. Introduction
  2. Geometric curves
  3. The Black-body theory of global climate - an example model with predictions.
  4. Lab 1, introduction to python
  5. Lab 2, Scientific computing with python
  6. Compartment modelling with differential equations (part 1)
  7. Compartment modelling with differential equations (part 2)
  8. Predators, Prey, and Reaction rates

Software Links

Links of tangential course interest