Caltech's Zwicky Compute Cluster
Check out the Ay190 Blog!
Instructors: Christian Ott and Andrew Benson
Ay 190, Computational Astrophysics, is a course for graduate students and advanced undergraduates in Astronomy, Physics, Applied Physics, and Geophysics and Planetary Sciences.
Computational modeling is the new frontier of problem solving in astrophysics: For many of the complex heavenly phenomena awaiting understanding, analytical/perturbative techniques have reached their limits and progress can be made only by numerical model building and by contrasting model predictions with observations.
The list of problems that must be addressed with computational models is long and includes (but is by no means limited to!) structure formation and the co-evolution of black holes and galaxies, the chemical evolution of the universe, star formation, stellar evolution, stellar collapse and core-collapse supernove, thermonuclear supernovae, thermonuclear explosions on neutron stars, the coalescence and merger of compact binary systems, common-envelope evolution, stellar dynamics in galaxies and globular clusters, and so on...
The goal of this course is to introduce the basic techniques of numerical and computational modeling and their application to astrophysical systems.
|Days, time, duration:||Monday 4:00-5:30pm and Thursday 10:00-11:30am|
|First class meeting:||01/06/2010|
|Impact:||3 hours of lecture per week, ~6 hours of nominal preparation/homework per week.|
|Prerequisites:||For grads: Knowledge of any programming language.|
For undergrads: Ph106, Ph20-22, Ay101, Ay21, Ay20
|Credit:||This class can be counted as credit towards the math physics advanced requirement and the physics masters degree requirements. Undergraduates can apply this course to their advanced physics electives.|
List of course topics:
|Basic Numerical Analysis||Ordinary Differential Equations|
|Numerical Differentiation||Numerical Integration|
|Linear Systems of Equations||Partial Differential Equations|
|Root Finding||Fitting and Data Analysis|
|Grid-Based Fluid Dynamics (HD/MHD)
||Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics|
|N-Body Algorithms||Basic Radiative Transfer|
|Monte Carlo Methods||and more ...|
We will meet twice a week in a regular classroom setting. Lectures will be blackboard/whiteboard-style with some use of projection. There will be homework excercise sets to be solved -- generally these will be handed out on a weekly basis, but more comprehensive excercises/projects may span multiple weeks. There will not be a final exam -- rather, there will be an individual term project to be carried out by each participant.
Books and Class Materials:
Unfortunately, there is no textbook for computational astrophysics. The lectures will be based on the instructors' own notes that will be made available here after each lecture.
We recommend the following books and lecture notes as additional reading (list to be expanded):
|Press et al.: Numerical Recipies||Pang: Computational Physics||Bowers and Wilson: Numerical Modeling in Applied Physics and Astrophysics|
|Ueberhuber: Numerical Computation (1 and 2)||Leveque: Finite Difference Methods for Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations||Bodenheimer: Numerical Methods in Astrophysics|
Class/homework will be primarily computational and will involve writing code, plotting up results and presenting them in typeset documents. Students may use any combination of programming languages, plotting packages, and typesetting software. However, we strongly encourage the following computational setup:
|Operating System:||Linux (e.g. Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian) or MacOS X|
|01/06||Introduction and Overview, Numerical Methods Basics||Ott and Benson|
|01/10||Numerical Methods I -- Interpolation||Ott|
|01/13||Numerical Methods II -- Integration; ODEs||Ott|
|01/17||Numerical Methods III -- Basic PDEs||Ott|
|01/20||Numerical Methods IV -- Linear/Non-linear Systems||Ott|
|01/24||Fitting & Analysis||Ott|
|01/31||Computational Fluid Dynamics: Basics||Ott|
|02/03||Grid-Based Computational Fluid Dynamics I||Ott|
|02/07||N-Body & SPH||Barnes & Hut 1986||Benson|
|02/10||N-Body & SPH||Benson|
|02/14||N-Body & SPH||Springel 2010||Benson|
|02/17||N-Body & SPH||Benson|
|02/21||Grid-Based Computational Fluid Dynamics II -- Applications||Ott|
|02/28||Radiation Transport Basics||Ott|
|03/03||Radiation Transport Applications||Ott|
|03/07||Radiation Transport Applications||Ott|