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Teaching numerical methods with IPython notebooks and inquiry-based learning

David I. Ketcheson
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

Abstract

A course in numerical methods should teach both the mathematical theory of numerical analysis and the craft of implementing numerical algorithms. The IPython notebook provides a single medium in which mathematics, explanations, executable code, and visualizations can be combined, and with which the student can interact in order to learn both the theory and the craft of numerical methods. The use of notebooks also lends itself naturally to inquiry-based learning methods. I discuss the motivation and practice of teaching a course based on the use of IPython notebooks and inquiry-based learning, including some specific practical aspects. The discussion is based on my experience teaching a Masters-level course in numerical analysis at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), but is intended to be useful for those who teach at other levels or in industry.

Keywords

IPython, IPython notebook, teaching, numerical methods, inquiry-based learning

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