maths study via The Open University

Archive for July, 2011

Past paper revision

I have a plan, and began implementing it today.

Spend 2 evenings a week doing past papers and questions from the course units/old TMA questions posted on the course intranet, while dedicating the remaining 5 evenings per week to study of the remaining 6 units in the course.

So, today, with pen in one hand and chicken sandwiches in the other, I got through the 2009 and 2010 past papers as best I could (couldn’t do some stuff as it’s in the final units I’ve not yet studied).

2010 seemed a lot harder than 2009 but both were quite approachable. Some questions took seconds to solve, others had me peering through the course handbook, scratching my head with a chicken sandwich.

Then I found MST326’s revision booklet, which provided further revision for MST209 since most of what’s in the MST326 booklet is initially covered in MST209: http://appliedmaths.open.ac.uk/802577A4003A19F6/%28httpInfoFiles%29/9385B27DDAB46886802577B5004F9BD1/$file/ebook_mst326_revisionbooklet_e1i1_web002477_l1.pdf

The booklet was very concise and accessible.

Day off work tomorrow as well = 8 hours of MST209 itself.

It’s been a lllllllllllonnnnnnnnnnggggggggg day.


Unit 22 – PDEs

This is one BIG topic to attempt to cover off in one week but the course notes waste no time in getting down to the wave and diffusion equations, while throwing in all sorts of other bits and pieces.

And that’s what this unit feels like – a bits and pieces introduction to a vast subset of maths. I’d have liked to see this go much deeper.

My video of choice this week:

I’m also sufficiently enthralled by Fourier series to want to have a deeper look at my own leisurely pace, hence I’ve ordered this book, which has rave reviews: http://www.amazon.com/Who-Fourier-Mathematical-Transnational-College/dp/0964350408

To quote one reviewer:

“This book is nothing if not eclectic, and the range of topics discussed is immense.

“If I hadn’t already studied calculus and linear algebra in college I would also, for the first time, understand differentiation, integration, vector spaces, Euler’s formula, Maclaurin series and the number e, all of which are presented with unusual clarity.

“This book is a tour de force, a summary of almost everything that is interesting (at least to me) in mathematics.”

All that, plus a very careful treatment of Fourier series and transforms. Nuff said. It’s ordered.

And unless anyone says otherwise over the next couple of days, this book on Maxwell’s equations will be ordered, too: http://www.amazon.com/Students-Guide-Maxwells-Equations/dp/0521701473/ref=pd_rhf_shvl_4


TMA5 back

Not much in the way of tutor observations or comments this time, and a high pass one.

Playing around with the online course assessment calculator, it appears that if I can score 75% in TMA6 then I won’t need to submit TMA7, or the second CMA, in order to obtain a distinction on the assignment side for MST209. I plan to do them all, obviously enough, though.

So, the pressure is off the assignments a bit, and I am beginning to turn my attention to an exam strategy. More on that next month.

Tonight, I’m wading through the end of the first book on M343 – Applications of Probability – since I’ve bought secondhand books to get a head start, ready for next year.

Being five days ahead of the MST209 schedule didn’t feel right, so I’ve turned my attention for the past few nights to the Law of Total Probability, Bayes’ Formula, various straightforward as well as obscure-looking distributions, expected value, and a fair wodge of integral calculus and sigma summation manipulation.

Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods and stacks of calculus will, hopefully, be appearing in the not too distant future.

Next year, spread between the February and October presentations, it looks like I’ll be tackling M248 (again), M343, M337 and MT365.

That will leave me M347 (the new mathematical statistics course) and either M249 (second level statistics) or MSXR209 (the residential course) for either the maths and stats, or the maths-on-its-own degree.

Since all the units up to my final selection are interchangeable between the two degrees, I don’t think I’ll fall foul of the OU’s new funding and costing rules announced yesterday. Hopefully. Maybe.


Unit 21 and first TMA question done

Unit 21 was all about Fourier series.
It was a fairly short unit and reasonably quick to get through (integration by parts and rules to rearrange sigma notation needed off the top of your head).
It felt much more like an M208 unit than an MST209 unit, which was borne out by the first assignment question, which was more an exercise in logic and reasoning than anything else.
Anyway, I have two nice proofs, a sketch, some Mathcad printout, and a numerical result sat here waiting to be sent off.

I plan to re-read the latter parts of the unit, about odd and even extensions, watch the video below again (which made the whole unit click into place for me, and is best watched after the video in my last post), then do the second assignment question tomorrow.

Due to a notable absence of procrastination, I have now got myself a whole five days ahead of the course schedule.

Unit 22 on partial differential equations, hopefully, coming up from Tuesday….


TMA5 done, unit 21 started

TMA 5 is done.
It was not without its problems, one of which felt akin to trying to solve the following:
Given a cheese sandwich, some beer and a cigarette-rolling machine, and given that frozen chicken can contain injected water and dextrose, show that Jupiter lies within our solar system. 😦

Anyway, now rolling along nicely with block 6 and unit 21, which deals with Fourier series.
To accompany me on my journey, I have Stroud’s Further Engineering Mathematics (proudly bought from ebay for 99p) and Professor Arthur Mattuck from MIT, whose 15th lecture in the differential equation series MIT 18.03 fits the bill nicely as an introduction.

Enjoy. 🙂


TMA5 Q4(e)

I hate you.

That is all.


Unit 20, er, continued

Unit 20 continues to be great fun, though the maths ramped up considerably as we progressed through chapter 2.

Anyway, I now have a basic appreciation for Newton’s law of universal gravitation, geostationary orbits, how fast a car can corner before getting flung into a ditch in mathematical terms, and why fairground rides can scare the pants out of you.

I have one question arising from when we’d expect to find a normal force in a force diagram – one variant I expected to see one in was without, so, on seeing another similar problem, I was surprised to find N back in there.

A call to my tutor, Dr Chris, on Monday, methinks.

Just about to start chapter 3, which gets away from uniform circular motion, and examines, well, you guessed, non-uniform circular motion. What is that? Is it when theta-dot varies? Hmm, I’m about to find out.

12 pages to go in this unit, then time to start the assignment question, which is largely based around this coming chapter, from the looks of it.

I need to post the completed assignment, which is based on units 17, 18, 19 and 20, on Monday.

Talk about cutting it fine.