maths study via The Open University

Unit 12 – wow

So, with the decision made to drop M248 and pick it up again next year in tandem with a single 30 point level 3 course, I feel mightily relieved.

I now have space and time to a) enjoy MST209, b) read around any parts giving me problems c) forget having to “speed learn”.

Of course, this is odd since I don’t need MST209 for my likely degree route but do need M248.

Except that MST209, while being a huge course with some quite difficult stuff in it, is actually very interesting.

And M248, to me, isn’t, while its maths is, dare I say it, quite elementary.

As maths to a budding mathematician goes, that is. To the average business student, it probably looks sophisticated (no slight intended).

So, I think my degree route might change in light of this – more likely to be a maths and maths only one now, rather than a stats and maths, or econs and maths one. Anyway, I’ll decide that later.

Right now, the emphasis is on needing to get through MST209.

I am technically one week ahead of the course schedule at this point, after taking a few days off.

But, the bug is back – I need to do some more MST209.

So, I started unit 12 – functions of several variables – last night and, well, just kept reading.

Another 8 hours of study and I should be finished the unit and the associated assignment question.

Unit 12 is just awesome and relies heavily on a preceding and good knowledge of single variable calculus. It goes on to deal with the straightforward methods of finding partial derivatives with respect to x and y in a 3-coordinate system (heavy use of finding partials of functions needing the product rule more than anything else), introduces grad, slides off into Taylor polynomials (these seem to appear in every maths course I ever look at), then on to classification of stationary points using eigenvalues (I am currently here :-))

To come: some more least squares approximation and, sadly, some computer algebra.

And that concludes the unit.

Difficulty so far is somewhere around a 5-out-of-10, I think. I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve done the TMA question which I haven’t looked at yet.

One of the functions examined is f(x,y) = (x^2 + y^3)sin(xy), which Wolfram was only too happy to plot for me.

This week’s essential watching – the first three videos are basically what’s in Unit 12; the fourth video is useful for a bit of reinforcement/consolidation:


2 responses

  1. Colin Smith

    I totally agree…Unit 12 is fantastic. I really enjoyed it. I’m trying to guess who you are from the MST209 forum. Your initials aren’t ** by any chance?

    April 26, 2011 at 6:09 PM

  2. 10/10 for detective work, Colin.
    That’s indeed me.
    I’m loving unit 12.
    In fact, I’m loving the whole course (apart from unit 5).
    You must be up to unit 19 or 20 by now?
    Are there any revelations along the way?

    April 26, 2011 at 8:33 PM

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