Review Comment

[APMA 4101] Introduction to Nonlinear Dynamical Systems

December 25, 2012

Weinstein, Michael
[APMA 4101] Introduction to Nonlinear Dynamical Systems

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Michael Weinstein's class was a great review of Linear Algebra and ODE. While this class may be more accurately described as "Advanced Techniques in Graphing" do not let the simplicity of the material fool you into not learning it, or else you'll get thrashed on the exams. The exams are fair but tend to ask more questions than you are realistically able to complete. However, I think Professor Weinstein noticed this because the exams became more feasible and reasonable as the semester progressed. Pretty standard: 2 midterms, each worth 25% of your grade and a Final worth 35%. Homework counts for 15%. Because people did so poorly on the first midterm (most people didn't answer one of 3 questions) he had two grading schemes: total grade out of all problems (for those who made an attempt at each one) or points out of your two best problems. Obviously this made some students who did very well upset and others who did very poorly grateful. The mean on the first exam was about 50% calculated either way, and 58% on the second midterm. The final supposedly had a mean of 63% according to the last email he sent (he hadn't finished grading all of them). I tanked on the first two midterms (below mean by + 10 percent) but I felt really well on the final (probably +75%), and ended up with a B. I did poorly on problem sets/didn't hand one of them in. This class should be an easy A for anyone who can commit. I should also mention that this semester for people who did very poorly (i.e. me!) on the first exam, he discounted that grade entirely and used the second midterm as the score for both (godsend!). I wouldn't count on him repeating this in the future (he noted that he was surprised by our class' performance on the first exam) although he seems like a reasonable grader. Hopefully you won't have Chris Choi as a TA as he grades extremely harshly when he himself doesn't understand the material (doesn't make sense!).

Workload:

2 Midterms each worth 25%, 1 Final worth 35% and 7 problem sets, worth 15%.
The required texts (pdfs) can easily be found doing some simple google searching. He also writes substantial and helpful notes that he places on courseworks and updates roughly every week.

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