ASU Fall 2016 Session B Complete

Unless there are some issues I’m not aware of, I’ve completed all required engineering math classes at ASU! I took the Linear Algebra final Thursday followed by Differential Equations on Friday. Both tests were challenging with Differential Equations brutal. I didn’t do as well as I was hoping on the Differential Equations Final and by my calculations that knocked my grade down a bit. Grades are due by Monday so should know final grades by then but those are done. Both courses are very challenging and as one of my math professor said, not for mere mortals!

Next up for me is a break until January. In January, I resume my studies PHY 131 – University Physics II – Electricity and Magnetism and PHY 132 – Physics II Lab during session A. This physics class is the last pre-requisite course I need to be able to start taking electrical engineering classes.


ASU Fall 2016 Session B Week 7 Update

It’s been a busy week working on homework assignments. I am really looking forward to having classes done next week. I’m still ahead on assignments and should have the last two labs and homework assignments done by Monday.

Sunday I have a MAT 343 Exam worth 10% that will cover the Orthogonality Chapter. It isn’t proctored through RPNow. I have a few more sections I need to review. For the most part, the first half of the chapter has been pretty straight forward. The last two sections had some complicated equations to sort through.

MAT 275 took us into Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors. No where near comfortable with them. Really glad I am taking Linear Algebra at the same time. I would be even more lost if I hadn’t been working with matrices the last few weeks.

MAT 275 Week 7 I’m studying:

  • Introduction to First Order Systems
  • Review of Matrices
  • Homogeneous Systems with Constant Coefficients
  • Complex Eigenvalues
  • Repeated Eigenvalues

MAT 343

  • Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors
  • Diagonalization
  • The Singular Value Decomposition

Not much else to report this week and am hopeful my next post will report successful completion of all the math classes required at Arizona State!

ASU Fall 2016 Session B Week 6 Update

I survived my midterms! Somehow in MAT 275 I pulled off a perfect score much to my surprise. In MAT 343, a 92.17% which I’ll take. Darn true false questions got the best of me on that test so I have to do a better job on those.

The professor push the due dates back on some of the MAT 275 homework sets which was nice. I think I had finished two already before I saw the email, but still glad those are done. I didn’t get a lot of homework done last weekend studying so the last few days have been busy trying to get ahead again. For the most part, I’ve been concentrating on the linear algebra homework assignments this week.

Yesterday a MAT 275 was due. That one was looking at damped and undamped spring mass systems. In PHY 121 we looked briefly at those, but didn’t really get into them too much due to differential equations being needed. It was nice to see them revisiting this course and get to use MATLAB to see how changing the damping constant impacts the system. The next MAT 343 lab looks at Least Squares and is due Saturday.

MAT 343 we’ll be studying:

  • Least Square Problems
  • Inner Product Subspaces
  • Orthonormal Sets
  • The Gram-Schmidt Orthogonalization Process

In addition to all those topics, we have an exam on 11/27 covering all the Orthogonality sections. It’s not proctored and is worth 10% of our grade. It seems like it’s really just memorizing the patterns and formulas so I need to get them into Anki and review so I’ve got them down for the final which will be 12/1.

MAT 275 we’re looking at

  • Discontinuous Forcing Functions
  • Impulse Functions
  • Introduction to First Order Systems
  • Reviewing Matrices

Definitely getting close to the end and I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully it’s not a train coming! 🙂


ASU Fall 2016 Session B Week 5 Update

Coming up on the last few weeks of MAT 343 and MAT 275. Couple more homework assignments, a few more labs, midterms and finals. The next few weeks will have most of the course grades due. Monday and Tuesday next week I have midterms so I don’t expect to be doing much over the weekend short of studying.

I’m really nervous about the MAT 343 midterm given how many questions were on the first exam. I was really pressed for time at the end and some of these problems take a really long time to solve. Some of the homework problems have been pretty straightforward, while others still seem like a foreign language. I still have a number of topics I need to review and get more comfortable with, but I’ve work through all the homework that will make up the exam. Note from the professor seemed to indicate that if you were comfortable with the homework  you should do fine. I haven’t been able to do as many extra book problems I would have hoped the past few weeks, but doing the best that I can with the 24 hours in a day I’ve got.

Had a nice surprise in the form of some extra credit in MAT 275 which was unexpected. Apparently one of the questions was from Chapter 3 which wasn’t supposed to be on the exam so the professor made that question worth an extra point for those who got it right. Nice to have a small cushion if needed.

MAT 275’s midterm will be done on Tuesday and for the most part, I feel I’ve understood the homework questions from chapter three covering homogeneous, constant coefficient DEs, etc. Will know for sure how well I understand it all Tuesday.  Test information also indicates that we’ve got to be ready for questions from chapter 1 and chapter 2. I’ve been practicing my flash cards and reviewing integration techniques so hopefully I can solve everything thrown at me. I still need to review partial fraction integration techniques a bit more, but we haven’t seen a lot of those lately.

Both classes this week had two MATLAB assignments due. The Lab 4 for MAT 343 was pretty fun. We looked at how to use matrices to make various rudimentary computer animations. MAT 275’s lab was probably more useful long term though. It covered using MATLAB’s ode45 differential equation solver. 2 more MATLAB assignments remain.

Next week in MAT 343 we’ll be studying:

  • Matrix Representations of Linear Transformations
  • The Scalar Product of ℜ^n
  • Orthogonal Subspaces

MAT 275 menu for next week:

  • Definition of the Laplace Transform
  • Solution of Initial Value Problems
  • Step Functions

Back to the books!

ASU Fall 2016 Session B Week 4 Update

Last Sunday I took the first MAT 275 exam and was able to score 8/8 somehow. Stumbled a little bit on using Euler’s method and on a Population Dynamics problem on my first attempt, but got my mistakes corrected on the second. Still have to do better at integration techniques. Differential Equations brings together so many topics that I’ve been studying for the past year.

The homework hasn’t been too bad for 275 this past week. Week 4 we’re going to be looking at:

  • Undetermined Coefficients
  • Variation of Parameters
  • Free Mechanical Vibrations
  • Forced Mechanical Vibrations

The labs have been interesting. This past lab we took a look at Euler’s method and the Improved Euler’s method in MATLAB. It neat to be able see how that application can be used to get an approximation for a value using those two methods. Short of a stupid mistake switching a row and column in MATLAB, I’ve done well on the MAT 275 labs.

Linear Algebra hasn’t been a lot of fun this past week. I’m still really struggling to get my arms around Vector Spaces and Subspaces for some reason. The homework for those two sections took a lot of time the past week. The section on Linear Independence wasn’t as bad as the subspace section. Hopefully I can get those section sorted out soon. I’m sure we’ll see those topics on the midterm coming up in two weeks.

Week 4 has us studying:

  • Basis and Dimension
  • Change of Basis
  • Row Space and Column Space
  • Linear Transformations

While the math classes have consumed most of my time the past few weeks, I’m also an undergrad TA for EEE 120 this session. I help out on the discussion board. Hopefully I’ve helped some of the students out.


ASU Fall 2016 Session B Week 3 Update

Wednesday I took the first MAT 343 exam and was able to get a 90.5/100 somehow. There were a number of true false questions, some you could figure out with your calculator and others you really needed to understand the various principles and rules we’d been taught. I have a few things to go back through and review. Should be able to do that over the weekend so I can hopefully not make the same mistake(s) going forward. I didn’t feel good about the test at all and was pretty surprised I scored as well as I did. Seems like this class is a lot of memorization and I need to do better at memorizing all the terms, etc.

Outside of preparing for the MAT 343 Exam 1, had the usual homework and a MAT 275 lab due last Tuesday and a MAT 343 MATLAB assignment coming up due on Sunday. We didn’t have any questions on the first MAT 343 exam regarding MATLAB.

Week 3 we’re looking at:

  • Vector Spaces
  • Subspaces
  • Linear Independence

I’m a few days ahead on the assignments for both classes which feels nice. The Vector Space homework was pretty straight forward, but really confused at the moment on how to get started to answer the subspaces homework questions. I am going to try ASU’s tutoring and hopefully they can help get me back on track. A number of the Subspaces questions have limited attempts and I really want to make sure I am doing those correctly.

The first exam in MAT 275 opens Saturday and is due Sunday. The first exam will cover topics like classification of differential equations, separable equations, direction fields, integrating factors, modeling with first order differential equations, Euler’s method and population dynamics.

I have been watching a lot of Krista King’s integration technique videos and feeling a little better about integration by parts and u-substitution. I still need to go through the partial fraction and trig integration techniques. I just flat out don’t remember them and don’t use them all that often. Hopefully they won’t show up on an exam with a differential equation, but given how the professor’s 343 exam went, I’m expecting some pretty challenging 275 exam questions.


Her differential equation videos have been helpful. I’m still getting tripped up by complicated integrals unfortunately but the separable equation, integration factor, and most of the mixing problems aren’t too bad. I just keep trying to slip in integration practice and hopefully by the time the midterm and final come around I’ll be much better at those and they won’t cause me any issues.

MAT 275 Week 3 we’re going over:

  • Population Dynamics
  • Homogeneous Constant Coefficients
  • The Wronskian

Back to the books!


ASU Fall 2016 Session B Week 2 Update

Both MAT 343 and MAT 275 had a fair amount of homework due last Sunday 10/16. It’s a bit of a juggling act bouncing between the two classes right now. I’ve been able to get ahead which is a nice feeling and hopefully that lasts. I’m glad I got both of the labs done early. That took a bit of stress off. Just took a little bit of tinkering in MATLAB to get things working right, but those are done.

Linear Algebra (343) is giving me a lot of practice on basic arithmetic. I find it funny that I’ve been able to solve complex multi-variable calculus problems, but when I get asked to multiply two sets of numbers, then add the product and I forget one of them had a negative sign. Both my TI-84 and TI-NSpire CX calculators though will solve most of the problems so far, provided there aren’t unknowns which is great for checking my work.

I have my first MAT 343 test on 10/27 and have been going back through reviewing the first few chapters. Our text book has some of the problems answered in the back of the book so that has been helpful to get in a few additional practice problems. I’m still not 100% comfortable with Linear Algebra, but the more we work with it, seems to be a really interesting tool.

MAT 343 Week 2 we’re studying:

  • Elementary Matrices
  • The Determinant of a Matrix
  • Properties of Determinants

MAT 275 (Differential Equations) didn’t kill me last week which I think my wife is happy about? The Section 2.2 homework on Separable Equations really brought to light how important knowing your derivatives and integrals are. I dusted off my Anki Calculus flash card deck and have been going through those daily. You also have got to know what to do with natural log and e! I used those more in one assignment than I think I’ve used over the past year all! I’m still really nervous about this class. It really brings a lot of the Calc I and Calc II topics together.

I have got to work in some additional practice on integration techniques over the next few weeks to get better at being able to work the differential equations. The Integrating Factor technique really requires you to know your integral stuff.

MAT 275 Week 2 we have:

  • Direction Fields
  • Integrating Factor
  • Modeling with First Order
  • Euler Method

Outside of all this math, I registered for Spring 2017 classes Tuesday. Electrical Engineering upper division courses are moving over to a full 15 week session C format. This change won’t impact me much Spring ’17. The classes I will be taken are the 7.5 week session A and B classes.

I signed up for PHY 131 – Physics II: Electricity & Magnetism, PHY 132: Physics II Lab Session A, Session B EEE 202: Circuits I, EEE 230: Computer Organization & Assembly Language.