Physics 281 - Computational Physics

Wednesday/Friday Section

Fall 2012

Project Report Guidelines

Our projects involve investigation of the behavior of a physical system through simulation. The heart of the assignment is your investigation of the system, and there are several basic elements to a report that describes your work.

Please be aware that, since everyone will solve the problem in these assignments, you will be evaluated on your understanding of the system and the numerical techniques involved, as evidenced by your written report.

General Items to Include in a Report

  1. Introductory Remarks - describe the physics of the system and introduce any special numerical approach that is required.
  2. Describe the Numerical Method - describe the algorithm that is used to solve the problem. Give example listings of your program to show how it is implemented. Sometimes, as described below, development steps are identified in the assignment. In this case, you should be sure to show the program as it appeared at these milestone points.
  3. Program Verification - tell what you did to verify that the program gives correct results.
  4. Presentation of Results - present the results of running the program to demonstrate the behavior of the system under different circumstances. Results might be presented in graphical form or as tables, as appropriate. Be sure that results that are presented are labeled properly, so that the reader can figure out what has been calculated and what is being displayed.
  5. Analysis - sometimes, we will take the results of many runs and derive relationships between the variables of the model and computed quantities. When this occurs, you should present this analysis and comment on the accuracy of the relationship.
  6. Discussion - present a discussion of the physical behavior of the system based on your simulations and answer any special questions posed in the assignment.

Dealing with Assignment "Steps"

In posing an assignment, I will sometimes give you a series of developmental steps and questions to lead to a final working program or suggest topics for investigation when the final model is complete. Usually, these steps fall naturally among the points in the general outline provided above.

When explicit project steps are identified, the project report should explicitly address these points.

When the steps refer to project milestones, it is appropriate to provide program listings, sample output and discussion as requested in the assignment.

If the step is a set of questions, then the point is to be sure that these questions are answered in your writeup.

Submission of Project Reports

Report Format

Please submit a HARD COPY of your project report, along with program listings and any supplemental information that is needed.

In addition to the above, please submit an electronic copy (preferably in PDF format) of the report as well as the MATLAB scripts used in the calculations.

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