Class Review

AM 112 Applied Partial Differential Equations with Hong Wang UCSC: Class Review

By: Jacob Dennon    Date: March 22nd, 2023

This class was tough. One of the disadvantages of the quarter system is that you have to learn PDEs in just 10 weeks. Even on the 16-week semester schedule, PDEs are just as brutal. There was no time to waste: after a quick 10-minute intro to the course, the math started and never stopped. Just to pass the class requires A LOT of time dedicated to reading the material. If you wanted a clear understanding of all the topics... Well, that's a lot of reading and re-reading.

Snippet of a problem from lecture.
Snippet of a problem from lecture.

I don't want you to get the idea that Prof. Wang made this course hard; it's just a hard subject. Prof Wang actually structured this course really well. There were 20 lectures(2 lectures a week), 5 exams that felt more like quizzes, and 10 homework assignments. Homework was graded on completion, not correctness - very cool. Homework was 15% of our grade, exams were 40%, and the final was 50%. Our curve was the 105% potential we had from the weighting. The exams were 2 questions each, remote, open-book, and we had 75 minutes to complete them. Not bad. The homework took about 5 hours to complete at 8 questions apiece. It would probably take 15 hours a week to pass with a C.

This is a class anyone could probably pass if they're good at school. However, if you want to do more than pass and actually learn the material, it's going to take a lot more than just memorizing the steps to each problem. There's not really enough time in class to cover conceptual topics like, "wtf is an eigenvalue?" or "why does the Fourier series work?" You'll have to go to office hours and read the textbook if you want these questions answered. Don't think I'm complaining about it, though. You have to decide how much you want to learn.

In conclusion, this was an intensive class. I didn't need the class at all so I wasn't ever too stressed, but still. Although I will say, if you can pass AM 100 you can probably pass this class. Would I recommend it to other Electrical Engineers who don't need it? Maybe. The Fourier applications have a lot to do with signals... but we didn't spend too much time on the fourier stuff. It would help with thermodynamics, but that's mainly physics territory. I would say as an Electrical Engineer, take AM 100 instead.