MATH 171B, Spring 2016


Instructor: Jiawang Nie
Office: AP&M 5864.
Phone: (858) 534-6015.
Email: njw "AT" math. ucsd dot edu.
Office hours: MW 2:30-3:30 or by appointment.


Time: 4:00 - 4:50, MWF
Location: PETER 103

Attending the lecture is a fundamental part of the course; you are responsible for material presented in the lecture whether or not it is discussed in the textbook. You should expect questions on the exams that will test your understanding of concepts discussed in the lecture. Please make sure your cell phone is turned off and put away during lecture.

TA Contact Info

Fangyao Su : Office Hours: 9:00-11:00, Fridays, APM 6414, Email:

Course Description

Convergence of sequences in R^n, multivariate Taylor series. Bisection and related methods for nonlinear equations in one variable. Newton's methods for nonlinear equations in one and many variables. Unconstrained optimization and Newton's method. Equality-constrained optimization, Kuhn-Tucker theorem. Inequality-constrained optimization. Three lectures, one recitation. Knowledge of programming recommended.

Here is a tentative course schedule.


Calculus, Linear Algebra, Real Analysis


Philip Gill and Margaret H. Wright, Numerical Optimization, 1998.

Discussion Sessions and Teaching Assistants

Attending discussion sections is a requirement for this course.

Session A01: 5:00pm - 5:50pm, Thursdays,   Room: York 3000A.   TA:  Fangyao Su
Session A02: 6:00pm - 6:50pm, Thursdays,   Room: York 3000A.   TA:  Fangyao Su

Homework Assignments

Homework will be assigned weekly, and collected by TA on the due dates (6pm). The worst of your homework assignment grades will be droped. No late homework will be accepted for any reasons.
  • Homework #1: due on 4/8/2016
    Homework Assignment #1 (solution)
  • Homework #2: due on 4/15/2016
    Homework Assignment #2 (solution)
  • Homework #3: due on 4/22/2016
    Homework Assignment #3 (solution)
  • Homework #4: due on 5/06/2016
    Homework Assignment #4 (solution)
  • Homework #5: due on 5/13/2016
    Homework Assignment #5 (solution)
  • Homework #6: due on 5/20/2016
    Homework Assignment #6 (solution)
  • Homework #7: due on 6/03/2016
    Homework Assignment #7 (solution)
  • Please write your names, ID nubmers, and section numbers on your homework, and staple together your homework pages.


    You may use any handheld calculator (but not a computer, PDA or any device with network capability) during exams; however, you will be expected to show all relevant computational steps: No credit will be given for unsupported answers gotten directly from a calculator.


    There will be two (2) midterm exams given during the regular lecture hour. You may bring one 8.5 by 11 inch handwritten sheet of notes with you to each midterm exam. Please make sure your cell phone is turned off and put away during exams.
  • Midterm I - in class, April 22, Friday, 2016. practice midterm I.
  • Midterm II - in class, May 18, Wednesday, 2016. practice midterm II.
  • Final - 3:00 - 5:59, 6/09/2016. Here is the practice final.
  • Make-up exam policy

    There will be no make-up exams for this couse. If you miss a midterm for any reason, then your course grade will be computed with the final exam counting 70% of your weighted average. You cannot miss the final exam.


    The final course grade will be based on homework assignments, midterm and final exams. Your final grade will be the best of the following two weighted averages.
  • 10% Homework, 20% Midterm Exam I, 20% Midterm Exam II, 50% Final Exam
  • 10% Homework, 20% best Midterm Exam, 70% Final Exam
  • The grades will be curved within the entire class.

    Academic Integrity

    Every student is expected to conduct themselves with academic integrity. Any kind of cheatings is not allowed in this course. Violations of academic integrity will be treated seriously.

    See UCSD Policy on Integrity of Scholarship.