MA132 – Computational Mathematics for the Life and Management Sciences * NOT PUBLISHED

NCSU Math 132 Fall 2017

This one credit course will introduce life and management science students to current computing tools which are important to their major areas of study. Many applications will be given involving fitting of data, differential equations, and optimization in two or more variables. The prerequisites are at least a C grade in the first semester of calculus such as MA 121 or 131.

You will

  • learn basic ways of working with data and mathematical models
  • become competent at using spreadsheets and computer algebra systems (Excel and Maple)
  • solidify your understanding of the concepts in Calculus
  • apply your knowledge to real-world problems

C or better in MA 121 or 131. The odds are pretty good that nobody remembers everything learned in Calculus, so keep a copy of a Calculus book handy for review of the concepts.

The computing tools will be the Excel spreadsheet and Maple computer algebra system. These tools will be used to illustrate the basic concepts in the first course in calculus for the life and management science students. Lessons will be available online (pdf and html files) and homeworks will be assigned, collected, and graded via WebAssign.

Class will be held in Cox 110
Section 1 meets MW 9:50-11:20 Section 2 meets TTh 9:50-11:20

You can also get help in SAS 2103/2105 the Math Multimedia Center 8-5pm M-TH and 8-5 on Fri.

Instructors: Evan North

Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday from 2pm – 3pm.

Grading Policy
Frequently Asked Questions
Run Maple using VCL

Courtesy – Open newspapers are rude and disruptive in any class. Phones should be off. Please understand that food and drink are unwelcome in the computer classroom.

MA 132 Schedule for Fall 2017




major concepts

major or new tools

Getting Started course mechanics browser







Lesson 1: Declining Prices,
Profits and Graphing 
graph of a
functionmax/minsuits example
·  Excel: series

·  Maple: diff, solve, plot

Lesson 2: Price Data and Trendlines data fitting

least squares

·  Excel: trendline
Lesson 3: Price Data for
Two Markets and Linear Estimation 
functions of 2
variablesdata fitting in 2
·  Excel: linest

·  Maple: pointplot3D

Lesson 4: Property
Appraisal and Linear Estimation
Introduction to
functions of
several variablesbest fits without
·  Excel: linest

Maple: exact arithmetic, plot, solve

Feb 9-10 Lesson 5: Savings Plans
and First-Order Finite Differences
finite difference
equationsfinancial modelingexact solution to
difference equations
·  Excel: series

·  Maple: subs, solve

Lesson 6: Loans and First Order
Finite Differences
finite difference
equationsexact solution of
a linear difference equation
·  Excel: series

·  Maple: solve, subs

Lesson 7: Cooling Model
and Euler Finite Difference Method 
Maple worksheet
·physical modeling

·differential equation
as limit of difference equation



·Excel: series

·Maple: solve, dsolve

Lesson 8: Population Models
and Exponential Functions
·population modeling

·differential equations


·exponential growth

·Excel: trendline

·Maple: dsolve

9: Population Models and the Spread of Rumors
population models

logistic growth



·  Maple: dsolve, DEplot
10: Minimum cost of a display areaand derivatives
optimization (max/min)


max/min by

·  Excel: series

·  Maple: diff, solve

11: Profit from 2 markets and partial
multivariate optimization ·  Excel: solver

·  Maple: diff, solve

·  Maple: plot3d, contourplot

Apr 6-7 Lesson 12: Alcohol
Breath Testing and Least Squares Data Fitting
least squares

critique of
mathematical models

·  Excel: solver

·  Maple: subs, plot

Lesson 13:
Population Growth: Raleigh and Wake County
population models

closed form
solutions of differential equations


·  Excel

·  Maple: dsolve

Lesson 14:
Population Growth: the World
population models


closed form
solutions of differential equations

critique and revision
of mathematical models

·  Excel: trendline

·  Maple: dsolve