Math 294: Optimization
||tleise at amherst dot edu
Other times by appointment or simply try stopping by my office
(Available at Amherst Books and on reserve in the science library)
- Become proficient in constrained optimization and associated linear algebra
- Understand both theory and applications
- Explore examples using computational software
- Linear algebra
used in convex optimization
- Linear and quadratic programs
- Second-order cone programs
- Semidefinite programs
Attendance: Please be in class and be there on time. Cooperative learning is more
and more fun than struggling through material on your own.
If you do
miss a lecture, it is your responsibility to obtain the material that
missed and to get your assignments handed in to me.
have a question during lecture, please raise your hand and ask it right
Chances are that other students are wondering the same thing. If a
arises later, feel free to visit my office and we'll work through
problems until you are comfortable with the mathematics.
Always feel free to ask me to slow down
Numerical software: We'll be doing lots of numerical explorations and learning to implement algorithms. If you have a laptop, please bring it to class regularly; if you don't have a suitable device, please let me know and we'll try to arrange one for you to borrow from the college. We will use Mathematica in class to explore examples. The college has a license that should allow you to install Mathematica on your own computer, and it's available on most college computers.
Grading: Your course grade will be based on
three take-home exams (50% total), homework (30%), and a final project with a report and presentation
- Exams. Your work must be entirely your own, so
please follow the guidelines of the honor code.
- Homework. You may study with other students
following these guidelines:
- If you worked with or received help
from any source other than me, you should put a note on the front of
your homework saying, "I worked with <names>."
Make sure your name stands out as the author of your
- Working together does not mean that
one of you does the first half of the homework set and the other does
the second. Everyone should work on every problem.
- Each student must hand in his or her
own problem set. You may not hand in a single packet as the work of
You must do your own write-up of each problem.
- Do not copy someone else's
solution—you will not learn anything and it is plagiarism.
You may discuss problems with others, but then you must be
able to work out the solution on your own again and write it down
- Sending or receiving a copy of a file that contains student work (paper, lab, homework assignment, etc) violates the honor code and will be treated as plagiarism. You may talk with others about strategies for solving a problem, but please do not share files.
- Be cautious in searching the web or other resouces for homework help. Copying solutions is plagiarism, whatever the source.
- If you are unsure what agrees or
does not agree with the precepts of intellectual responsibility in this
course, feel free to talk to me about it.
- All problem sets are due at THE
START OF CLASS.
Late homework will receive half credit for homework handed
in after start of class but by the start of the next class meeting (and will not accepted after
that, unless you contacted me in advance to obtain an extension).
- If you are unable to attend class due
to illness or an emergency, let me know as soon as you can and we will
work out an appropriate schedule for assignments.
- Your name should be written on all
sheets handed in.
- Problem solutions must be written out
in the order they were assigned.
- Multiple pages must be STAPLED.
- Homework should be neat.
No dog ears. No messy edges
from notebook paper.
- Where appropriate, please box or
highlight final answers. In general, try
to make your answers readable and easy to find. Always
keep the grader happy!
- As mentioned elsewhere, no copying!
Always keep the honor code in mind to maintain an ethical environment in which everyone truly learns the material.
Don't struggle alone! You have many options for
with this course.
- Me. Feel free to come to my office hours,
make an appointment by email or phone, or simply try stopping by my
office—you are welcome whenever my door is open. If
you have some anxiety about taking math exams, please come see me and
we can work together on building your math confidence.
- Homework. Mathematics
is learned ACTIVELY, not passively. You
can't absorb math through listening or reading, even if you think you
understand it all.
- Textbook. I won't go over everything that is
contained in the text, and I try to avoid doing the same examples. Hence your textbook in an important
independent source of information and you should read it!
- Lecture notes. Reviewing the notes you take in lecture
will give you a chance to see the material again after you have had
some time to assimilate it.
- Your classmates. Discussing math with others can help you
think through the concepts. Explaining an
idea you already understand will deepen your comprehension, and for the
concepts that you don't understand well, the explanation of a peer may
be more helpful than mine or the textbook's.
- Library resources.
- The textbook is
on reserve in the Keefe Science Library.
- The library has other books on numerical analysis and scientific computation that may be useful resources to supplement the coverage in our text.
can be installed on your own computer (https://www.amherst.edu/offices/it/knowledge_base/software/college-install) or accessed through a Remote Desktop Connection (https://www.amherst.edu/offices/it/knowledge_base/network-wifi/Remote_Desktop_Connection). The college has a limited number of Mathematica licenses, so be sure to quit Mathematica when you are finished; otherwise, you may prevent another student from being able to use it.
To the Math 294 Homework Schedule