##
Syllabus: MA 471-671
Chaotic Dynamical Systems

Fall 2017

###
Robert L. Devaney

Department of Mathematics

Office: Room 274 MCS

Tel. 617-353-4560

Office hours: M Tu W 12-1 and by appointment. But feel free
to stop by anytime I'm in my office.

The goal of these two courses is to
introduce some of the spectacular new
discoveries that have been made over the past thirty years
in the field of Mathematics known as Dynamical Systems.
MA 471 is an undergraduate level course, designed for students who
have completed at least MA 123, 124, and 225. More advanced coursework
in the mathematics department is helpful but not absolutely necessary.
MA 671 is a graduate course aimed at students who are ** not **graduate
students in the Mathematics Department. Mathematics
graduate students should enroll in MA 771. Unlike 771, this course
does not presuppose acquaintance with ideas from analysis such as
found in MA 511-512. MA 471 and 671 will meet concurrently: students
enrolled in MA 671 will have to complete all of the requirements of MA
471 plus an extra project.
We will use a
number of novel techniques in these courses, including a variety of
computer experiments. Students will be expected to
carry out a series of experiments using software that is posted on the
web at the Dynamical
Systems and Technology Project.
Or you may use any software that you find to be more convenient.

** Text**

The textbook for the course is
A First
Course in Chaotic
Dynamical Systems, written by your favorite Math professor
and published by Perseus Press (sometimes called Westview Press).

** Exams **

There will be two midterms in this course, the first on Wednesday,
October 11 and
the second on Wednesday,
November 15. These exams
will each count for 20% of the final grade. The final exam will count
for 35% of the course grade. The final is scheduled for Monday, December 18,
3-5PM.
The remaining 25% of the course grade
will be derived from computer lab reports
and, in the case of MA 671, a special report. Homework will be
assigned weekly but not picked up or graded. Solutions have been posted
on the web. There is also a solutions manual for all problems in the textbook
available
here.

I regard this course as a rigorous mathematics course where students are
required to understand all of the definitions, theorems,
proofs and so forth. You will often be asked to explain mathematical
concepts in essay questions on exams, to prove certain facts, and to
write concisely and accurately about the mathematical ideas in the
course.

** MA 671
**

Graduate students registering for MA 671 are required to hand in
a special paper dealing with dynamical systems and chaos in their own
specific area of interest. For example, engineering students could
discuss the behavior of a chaotic system (like the double pendulum)
that arises in mechanics. SED students could produce a module on
dynamics that could be used in a secondary school mathematics class.
The exact topic will be decided in individual meetings to be scheduled
in October.

** Grades**

Grades for both MA471 and MA671 will be posted on the MA471
Blackboard or
MA671
Blackboard websites. Please check these listings occasionally to check that
all of your grades have been recorded correctly.

For homework assignments click
here.

For information about lab reports, click
here.

For some previous and sample exams, click
here.