Skip to main content
Unit of study_

MATH3078: PDEs and Waves

Semester 2, 2021 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

The aim of this unit is to introduce some fundamental concepts of the theory of partial differential equations (PDEs) arising in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematical Finance. The focus is mainly on linear equations but some important examples of nonlinear equations and related phenomena re introduced as well. After an introductory lecture, we proceed with first-order PDEs and the method of characteristics. Here, we also nonlinear transport equations and shock waves are discussed. Then the theory of the elliptic equations is presented with an emphasis on eigenvalue problems and their application to solve parabolic and hyperbolic initial boundary-value problems. The Maximum principle and Harnack's inequality will be discussed and the theory of Green's functions.

Unit details and rules

Unit code MATH3078
Academic unit Mathematics and Statistics Academic Operations
Credit points 6
Prohibitions
? 
MATH3978 or MATH4078
Prerequisites
? 
6cp from (MATH2X21 or MATH2X65 or MATH2067) and 6cp from (MATH2X22 or MATH2X61)
Corequisites
? 
None
Assumed knowledge
? 

[MATH2X61 and MATH2X65] or [MATH2X21 and MATH2X22]

Available to study abroad and exchange students

Yes

Teaching staff

Coordinator Florica-Corina Cirstea, florica.cirstea@sydney.edu.au
Lecturer(s) Florica-Corina Cirstea, florica.cirstea@sydney.edu.au
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Take-home short release) Type D final exam Final exam
Written exam
60% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Assignment Quiz 1
Quiz (short take-home test)
15% Week 05
Due date: 09 Sep 2021 at 00:00

Closing date: 09 Sep 2021
45 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO5
Assignment Assignment
Canvas assignment
10% Week 09
Due date: 17 Oct 2021 at 23:59
2 weeks
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Assignment Quiz 2
Quiz (short take-home test)
15% Week 12
Due date: 04 Nov 2021 at 00:00

Closing date: 04 Nov 2021
45 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Type D final exam = Type D final exam ?

Assessment summary

  • Quizzes: Two quizzes will be held online through Canvas. Each quiz is 45 Minutes and has to be submitted by the closing time of 23:59 on the due date. The quiz can be taken any time during the 24 hour period before the closing time. The better mark principle will be used for the quiz so do not submit an application for Special Consideration or Special Arrangements if you miss a quiz. The better mark principle means that the quiz counts if and only if it is better than or equal to your exam mark. If your quiz mark is less than your exam mark, the exam mark will be used for that portion of your assessment instead.
  • Assignment: one assignment to provide written solutions to questions. The assignment must be submitted electronically, as one single typeset or scanned PDF file only, via Canvas by the deadline. Note that your assignment will not be marked if it is illegible or if it is submitted sideways or upside down. It is your responsibility to check that your assignment has been submitted correctly and that it is complete (check that you can view each page). Late submisions will receive a penalty.

  • Final exam: The exam will cover material covered in lectures and tutorials including the theory and proofs, and not just problems to solve.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range

Description

High distinction

85 - 100

Representing complete or close to complete mastery of the material;

Distinction

75 - 84

Representing excellence, but substantially less than complete mastery;

Credit

65 - 74

Representing a creditable performance that goes beyond routine knowledge and understanding, but less than excellence;

Pass

50 - 64

Representing at least routine knowledge and understanding over a spectrum of topics and

important ideas and concepts in the course.

Fail

0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see sydney.edu.au/students/guide-to-grades.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction into PDEs - What is a PDE? The four most important PDEs and classes of PDEs. Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 02 The principle of Superposition and classification of 2nd-order linear PDEs. Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Introduction into PDEs - What is a PDE? The four most important PDEs and classes of PDEs. Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 03 1st-order linear PDEs and the method of characteristics Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
The principle of Superposition and classification of 2nd-order linear PDEs. Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO5
Week 04 Conservation laws, standing waves, traveling waves, waves trains, and general transport equations with uniform velocity vector. Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO5
1st-order linear PDEs and the method of characteristics Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 05 Linear and nonlinear transport equations Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
Conservation laws, standing waves, traveling waves, waves trains, and general transport equations with uniform velocity vector. Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 06 Shock waves Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
Linear and nonlinear transport equations Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 07 Laplace's equation on various symmetric regions in the plane and space, and the fundamental solution. Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
Shock waves Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 08 Harmonic functions, mean-value property, maximum principles, and Harnack's inequality Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
Laplace's equation on various symmetric regions in the plane and space, and the fundamental solution. Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 09 Sturm-Liouville operator on a bounded interval and eigenvalue problems. Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO5
Harmonic functions, mean-value property, maximum principles, and Harnack's inequality Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO5
Week 10 The Schrödinger operator on regions in the plane and space, Eigenvalue problems on the disc and ball - spherical harmonics. Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
Sturm-Liouville operator on a bounded interval and eigenvalue problems. Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO5
Week 11 Application: Solving initial boundary-value problems for parabolic and hyperbolic equations. Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6
The Schrödinger operator on regions in the plane and space, Eigenvalue problems on the disc and ball - spherical harmonics. Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 12 Poisson's equation and Green's function. Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Application: Solving initial boundary-value problems for parabolic and hyperbolic equations. Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 13 Green's function on the ball and half-space Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Poisson's equation and Green's function Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrating the ability to recognize different types of partial differential equations: "linear" or "nonlinear", "order of the given equation", "homogeneous" or "inhomogeneous", and if it concerns 2nd-order equations, whether they are of "elliptic", "parabolic", or "hyperbolic" type
  • LO2. demonstrating the conceptional understanding of how to apply different methods for solving different types of partial differential equations. Those methods include the use of classical ODE-concepts to solve PDEs
  • LO3. understanding the definitions, main theorem, and corollaries of Green's functions and Poisson kernel
  • LO4. be fluent with "change of variable" into polar, cylindrical and spherically coordinates and to be able to compute partial derivatives in these coordinates
  • LO5. develop an appreciation and strong working knowledge of the theory and application of elementary partial differential equations
  • LO6. be fluent in using generalized Fourier transforms to solve parabolic and hyperbolic initial boundary value problems where the spatial variable might be of more than one variable

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
GQ1 GQ2 GQ3 GQ4 GQ5 GQ6 GQ7 GQ8 GQ9

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

This year we swapped the theory of first-order and 2nd-order equations.

Disclaimer

The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.