Symbolic Computation LaboratoryAS/SC/MATH2041.03
Fall 2001
Mike Zabrocki

The LAST day to hand in assignments
is Thursday, December 6
at 1:30pm.  NO exceptions.

All assignments given to me after 2:30pm on
Tuesday, December 4 will not receive a grade
until after assignments are due (those given
after that time are not eligible for a regrade).

All students who do not complete
assignments 1-6 will have to take a final exam.
Contact me if you are not going to finish
those 6 assignments.

You will need a Gauss Lab account in order to be able to use the machines in S110 Ross. To get this account, use the Maya system ( to obtain a YORKARTS and a MATHSTAT account. It will take 24 hours to activate this account, so do this early. You may also wish to obtain the Acadlabs and Phoenix accounts as these labs also have access to Maple.
Make sure that your Yorkcard has the magstrip activated to give you access to the Gauss Lab (S110 Ross). If you are unable to gain access to the lab, you may need to go to the registrar to activate your card.

The course meets on Tuesday and Thursday in S110 Ross at 12:30-2:30 on Tuesday, 12:30-1:30 on Thursday. The Gauss Lab is reserved from 12:30 to 2:30 Tuesday and Thursday for this class. I will be available during those times to answer questions, resolve problems, and to demonstrate Maple. During part of this lab time I will also explain the assignments and present tutorials on the Maple language. The first lecture is on September 12 and last class meeting is November 30. All assignments must be submitted by December 4.

The purpose of the course is to introduce students to the Maple language for doing symbolic as well as numerical mathematics. This computer system is able to do much of the tedious or routine calculations which need to be done in solving many mathematical problems, thereby allowing the student to concentrate on the conceptual difficulties rather than on the mechanical calculations. Students will be introduced to the language by working on problems from calculus and algebra, areas of mathematics with which students taking this course should already be familiar.

There is no recommended text for the course.  If you wish to obtain a manual for Maple, you may find one in the library or a bookstore or on-line.  The previous text for this course was 'A Guide to Maple' by Ernic Kamerlich.  It lacked sufficient examples to be of much use and so this year I have chosen not to recommend a text and to instead suggest that you learn to rely as much as possible on the online help within Maple.

The course mark will be based entirely on the number of assigned projects successfully completed. The possible grades for a submitted assignment are "A" (Acceptable), "B" (Barely acceptable) and "U" (Unacceptable).  Assignments marked "U" will have to be resubmitted. Although an assignment with a grade of either "A" or "B" will be deemed to have been successfully completed, students receiving a large number of "B" grades may be asked to write a final exam at the end of the term. A poor performance on this final examination may result in a lower final grade for such students.

There will also be two in class quizzes. These will not play a roll in calculating the final mark except in the case where a student's performance on the quiz does not correspond to marks obtained on submitted assignments. In such cases the student in question will also be required to write a final examination. Students should be present in class, or contact the instructor, on a regular basis.

The course requirements for each of the possible grades are outlined in the following marking scheme:

  1. Minimizing the length of a  wire supporting a disk .
  2. Calculating the forces on trusses in a bridge.
  3. Why do some planets appear to move backwards in the night sky?
  4. Using the Leontieff model to predict prices in a closed economy.
  5. Finding the volume of two intersecting cylinders .
  6. Finding the state of rest of a hanging mass .
  7. Distinguishing knots by their colour polynomials.
  8. What is the nature of cubic curves .
  9. Calculating volumes using statistical methods.
  10. Doing arithmetic with Egyptian fractions .
  11. Propose a project to the instructor.
Due dates: All other assignments are due by December 6. Note that students planning to obtain a mark higher than "C" should plan to hand in the first 5 assignments before the suggested deadline in order to have time to finish more than 6 assignments. Students planning to obtain a mark considerably higher than "C" should hand in the first 5 assignments well before the suggested deadline. 

Instructions on submitting assignments.

The hard copy will be marked up and returned to you marked with an 'A,' 'B,' or 'U.'  If you are unsatisfied with the grade you may resubmit the file with a second version.

The last day of the term is December 4.  Women's Rememberance Day is this day and classes are not to be held between 11:30am-1:30pm.
The last day to submit term work is December 6

I will not accept any submissions after that date unless arrangements are made in advance.

I will only grant extensions in the case that

Most of the problems and sample problems were written by Juris Steprans (

A few sample problems along with solutions are available for students to study. These can also be used as guidelines to answer the question: "How much should I put in my solution?".

Students are allowed, indeed they are encouraged, to work on assignments in groups of two or three. Forming study groups to work on assignments outside of class time is also encouraged. Performing study groups for this class means that all students work together on the same project, NOT that each student completes a third of the projects and the other members 'share.' It will not be unusual for the instructor to interview each student and ask them to explain the project and the results after the assignment has been handed in (if time permits, this will occur for all projects and all students). I expect that each student will create their own file and submit this work separately. In case of perceived misuse of the group work, the instructor reserves the right to disband groups.


Mike Zabrocki
Email address:
Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
York University
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