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Math Review for Biologists, 2012 edition.

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Marcelo O. Magnasco

Leandro M. Alonso, TA


A course for those who now discover they should have learned some of this stuff, back when.

Sept 13, 2012 through some time in January 2013.

Lectures: Tuesdays, 9-11 AM, Theobald Smith Hall ANNEX B-level seminar room.

Practice/Lab: Thursdays 1-3 PM, Theobald Smith Hall ANNEX B-level seminar room unless otherwise noted.

This course is not offered for credit. The reason is that if the course is offered for credit, then students who actually do know math will come to score an easy credit point. These dudes terrify the ones who do not know math and no purpose is served.



The first organizational meeting will be held Thursday Sept 13, 1PM at the TSHA B-level seminar room.

Instructions to obtain the Enthought Python Distribution/Academic and various other stuff will be issued, and we may start the lecturing just to get things going.


Course Outline: (not necessarily in temporal order)

  • Precalculus (Numbers, Basic Algebra, exp and log, operations on functions)
  • Derivatives (limits, derivation, chain/mult rule, minimization, least squares fitting, maximum likelihood) 
  • Inverting derivation (Integration, basic differential equations, Taylor series)
  • Linear Algebra (vector spaces, subspaces, linear operators, bases, matrix algebra)
  • Basic Programming (Introduction to Python, loops, basic scipy array operations)
  • Algorithmic Complexity (running time of an algorithm, N vs. NP, divide and conquer)
  • Numerical Integration, basic dynamical systems theory.
  • Elements of Statistics (statistical significance, null hypothesis, multiple hypothesis corrections)
  • Other topics to be winged (networks, Kalman, etc).

 The course materials page contains the lecture notes, homework assignments, source code etc. 

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