|Mathematics 136A||Spring 2012|
Class grade book
Math 136 project: applications of linear algebra
This quarter, you need to do a project involving an application of linear algebra. You must work in groups of either two or three people. Once your group has chosen a topic, your first task will be to locate one or two references that tell you how to use linear algebra to study the problems posed in the project. Ian and I will be available to help you find references and to answer any other questions.
It may be that you'd like to choose something that's not on the list below. If so, make an appointment to see me before Friday, April 27 so that you can get started on a more detailed outline of your proposed project.
Acknowledgement. This material has been compiled by various members of the math department, including Robin Graham, Tom Duchamp and one of our former graduate students, Rebekah Hahn.
In general, these projects will take some time and effort on your part. So, to make sure you don't fall behind, there are several due dates for the project. Missing any of the due dates can affect your final project grade.
5:00pm, Friday, April 27: Send me email specifying your topic and the names of the people in your group. To avoid unnecessary duplication, please send me only one message per group.
5:00pm, Friday, May 4: You need to turn in (by email or by hand) citations for two references that your group has found and a summary (roughly a paragraph in length) of what you've learned about your topic so far. This might include definitions of words related to your topic or a discussion of how you might start approaching one of the problems you've been assigned.
Beginning of class, Tuesday, May 15: A rough draft of your report is due. Each draft will be "peer reviewed" by two other groups.
Beginning of class, Monday, May 21: Peer reviews due.
5:00pm, Wednesday, May 30: The final draft of your report is due.
Grading and other information
Each project should include the following sections.
Background This is mostly a discussion of how the non-mathematical and mathematical portions of your topic fit together. In other words, you need to talk about what you needed to know about your topic in order to do the associated problems and how linear algebra fits into the picture. So you might include the definitions of the words I've given you, the linear algebra ideas you used (e.g. matrix multiplication, solving linear systems, etc), and some explanation about why these ideas were useful.
Projects are worth 25 points, and of those 25 points, you get 5 points for meeting all of the due dates. The remaining 20 points are divided evenly into two criteria: the mathematics and your presentation of it.
Mathematics. Obviously you should avoid mathematical errors. Your project should use linear algebra in an interesting way: it's not good enough to just suddenly multiply a few matrices for no apparent reason. You also need to cover the material described above – background, solutions to the problems, bibliography. For full credit, you should perhaps go beyond just the description in the handout.
Presentation. There are "local" and "global" writing issues. Local ones: Have you chosen good notation? Are you using (mathematical) language well and appropriately? Is everything you're written relevant? Have you included a good level of detail: not too much, not too little? Do you have good transitions? Are there grammatical errors or misspellings? Does your paper sound good when read aloud?
Global writing issues: Have you organized the project well? Note that you don't need to have sections labeled "Background" and "Solutions" – you can organize the paper however you think makes sense. One model could be: first state the goal of the project in general terms, then give necessary background, then discuss the project in detail, interweaving solutions to the problems as applications or examples. Alternatively, you could pose some of the problems as motivating questions at the beginning as part of the overview of the project.