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DEGREE REGULATIONS & PROGRAMMES OF STUDY 2014/2015
- ARCHIVE as at 1 September 2014

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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Physics and Astronomy : Undergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy)

Undergraduate Course: Computational Astrophysics (PHYS11037)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Physics and Astronomy CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Year 4 Undergraduate) Credits10
Home subject areaUndergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy) Other subject areaNone
Course website http://www.roe.ac.uk/~aam/teaching/CompAstro/ Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis course provides an introduction to advanced computational techniques used for numerical simulations in astrophysics involving gravity and/or fluids. The topics include N-body methods for solving gravity problems and numerical hydrodynamics techniques for fluids.

Astrophysical topics for which the methods are used include cosmological simulations of structure formation in the Universe, the evolution of stellar systems (galaxies and star clusters), the formation of stars and planetary systems, and the collisions of neutron stars and black holes as a model for gamma-ray bursters. For more information on the sort of topics to which the methods are applied, please see: http://www.roe.ac.uk/~aam/ecca.

Although the examples are drawn from astrophysics, the methods taught are applicable to a wide range of problems in computational physics. The course is continuously assessed on the basis of course exercises and a computing project: there is no Degree Examination.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Computational Methods (PHYS09016) OR Advanced Computer Simulation (PHYS10014)
Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements At least 80 points accrued in courses of SCQF level 9 or 10 drawn from Schedule Q.
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesNone
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2014/15 Semester 1, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Class Delivery Information 7 hour(s) per week for 3 week(s). Workshop/Tutorial Sessions as arranged.
Course Start Date 15/09/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 16, Dissertation/Project Supervision Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 79 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, a student should be able to demonstrate understanding of and be able to show:

Ability to adapt existing direct N-body packages to solve a new problem of physical or astrophysical interest. This includes sufficient awareness of the algorithms on which the codes are based to alter the initial conditions appropriately, understand the output, check the accuracy of the results, and manipulate and display them using standard unix tools.

Ability to formulate and understand the equations relevant for hydrodynamics in conservative and non-conservative form.

Ability to discretise the equations relevant for hydrodynamics in conservative form.

Ability to numerically implement as computer code a subset of the equations relevant for hydrodynamics.

Knowledge of concepts of source terms, Eulerian and Lagangian formulations, implicit and explicit formulations, finite difference approximations, finite difference/volume/element methods.

Ability to describe the Particle-Mesh method of solving
the Poisson equation.

Ability to numerically implement as computer code a subset of the equations relevant for Particle-Mesh simulations.

Ability to explain properties of the Discrete Fourier Transform.

Ability to express the equations for gravitational dynamics in Fourier space.

Understand the Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) implementation of the hydrodynamics equations.

Have an understanding of the situations in which a Lagrangian treatment (as used by SPH) may be more appropriate than a Eulerian treatment.

Understand the different techniques for calculating the gravitational force - direct versus PM versus TREE code.
Assessment Information
4 items of coursework - 50%
project - 50%
Visiting Student Variant Assessment
4 items of coursework - 50%
project - 50%
Special Arrangements
None
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Ability to adapt existing direct N-body packages to solve a new problem of physical or astrophysical interest. This includes sufficient awareness of the algorithms on which the codes are based to alter the initial conditions appropriately, understand the output, check the accuracy of the results, and manipulate and display them using standard unix tools.

Ability to formulate and understand the equations relevant for hydrodynamics in conservative and non-conservative form.

Ability to discretise the equations relevant for hydrodynamics in conservative form.

Ability to numerically implement as computer code a subset of the equations relevant for hydrodynamics.

Knowledge of concepts of source terms, Eulerian and Lagrangian formulations, implicit and explicit formulations, finite difference approximations, finite difference/volume/element methods.

Ability to describe the Particle-Mesh method of solving the Poisson equation.

Ability to numerically implement as computer code a subset of the equations relevant for Particle-Mesh simulations.

Ability to explain properties of the Discrete Fourier Transform.

Ability to express the equations for gravitational dynamics in Fourier space.

Understand the Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) implementation of the hydrodynamics equations.

Have an understanding of the situations in which a Lagrangian treatment (as used by SPH) may be more appropriate than a Eulerian treatment.

Understand the different techniques for calculating the gravitational force - direct versus PM versus TREE code.
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsCAstr
Contacts
Course organiserProf Avery Meiksin
Tel: (0131) 668 8355
Email: A.Meiksin@ed.ac.uk
Course secretaryMiss Paula Wilkie
Tel: (0131) 668 8403
Email: Paula.Wilkie@ed.ac.uk
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