Course syllabus


DAT026 / DIT992 / LGMA65 Mathematical modelling and problem solving lp1 HT20 (7.5 hp)

This course is offered by the department of Computer Science and Engineering

This course will be conducted entirely through distance learning

Contact details:

Course purpose

Mathematical models are used in science and engineering to describe and represent different objects and systems, to analyze, understand and predict, and for finding the best design or strategy. Mathematical modelling is therefore a basic engineering skill.

With carefully selected exercises this course teaches mathematical modelling as a tool for solving real problems. Problems are taken from computing and traditional engineering disciplines, as well as from other areas, such as economy, medicine and games.

The course is primarily intended as an introduction to mathematical modelling for students with limited experience in the use of mathematics in engineering, but which may come to work in different areas where mathematics is useful. With application oriented exercises, and by teaching modelling and problem solving, the course then bridges the gap between the theoretical courses in mathematics and relevant applications.

A note on the purpose and pedagogy of the course


The weekly schedule for this course will be:

Monday 10.00-11.45 Introductory lecture to this week's module

Tuesday 15.15-17.00 Supervision session

Wednesday 10.00-11.45 Supervision session

Wednesday 15.15-17.00 Follow-up lecture to last week's module

Friday 10.00-11.45 Supervision session

Friday 13.15-15.00 Supervision session

Course design

The core of the course is a number of problems in seven weekly modules. The normal schedule of a module is the following:

  • Introductory lecture (Monday). A general introduction to the the type of models considered in the module and preparation for the problems.
  • Problem solving work during the week. The students work together on the problems in pairs. There are several supervision sessions when the students can discuss their ideas with the supervisors. We give advice interactively and incrementally, so you are encouraged to come back and discuss the same exercise several times. You will then get more help every time.
  • The problems are completed and handed in on Sunday.
  • Follow-up lecture the following week (Wednesday). This is a compulsory follow up lecture providing feedback on the problems and additional comments.
  • After the follow-up lecture, you are finally asked to reflect on your problem solving and your learning in a second submission.

More detail is given here:

General Instructions

Reflection and self-assessment

Writing Hints

Submission Instructions

Mathematica is used for many of the problems. Instructions on how to set up Mathematica can be found here:

Using Mathematica

We use the FIRE system for submissions:


Course literature

There is no textbook or compulsory literature for the course. A number of suggestions for students who want further reading about mathematical modelling or problem solving are on the page Complementary literature

Changes made since the last occasion

The course will be conducted entirely through distance learning this time. Lectures and supervision sessions will be conducted through Zoom.

The order of the modules is different from the last occasion, and there have been minor changes to some of the problems.

Learning objectives and syllabus

Learning objectives:

  • Describe different model types and their properties, as well as the processes of modelling and problem solving. Describe main aspects of mathemtical thinking.
  • Explain the role of mathematics in different areas of application.
  • Mathematical modelling: investigate real problems, suitably translate into a mathemtical model and draw conclusions with the help of the model. This includes to create a precise formulation, simplify, make suitable assumptions and selecting how the problem can be described e.g. with the help of equations or in other mathematical ways.
  • Mathematical problem solving: solving complex and unknown problems with an investigative and structured approach. This includes analyzing and understanding, working in smaller steps and trying things out.
  • Communicate with and about mathematics.
  • Use different computational tools as a natural part of working mathematically.
  • Show an ability to balance own thinking and using knowledge from others.
  • Show a reflective attitude to the contents of the course and to the student's own thinking.
  • Show accuracy and quality in all work. 

Link to the syllabus on Studieportalen:

DAT026 (Chalmers)

DIT922 (GU)


Examination form

The course is examined through written assignments and a final report, where the students are encouraged to summarize the course in their own way. Additionally, the course includes compulsory follow-up lectures for each modules, and during the examination week there is also compulsory final meeting where the report is discussed. Both the weekly assignments and the final report are normally done in groups of two.


Course summary:

Date Details Due