Physics Department Computer Laboratory Manual

This lab manual was prepared for the various Physics classes that use the departmental computer laboratories. If you are doing only web browsing (WebAssign), or editing simple Microsoft Office documents, the abbreviated chapter "A Quick Introduction to the Lab for Windows Lovers" should suffice. For students using Unix, the chapters "Logging On and Doing Windows", "Terminal Utilities", and "The Bare Bones" should provide a quick introduction. Other chapters give more details and deal with special topics.

The Physics Department offers courses at three levels in computational physics.

Obtaining an Account and User Policy

Who can have an account in the Physics department, how to obtain one, and our user policy.

Terminals for Windows Lovers

An abbreviated introduction to the lab terminals for students who only need to use a browser, or who want to edit a Microsoft Office document. Also, how to use personal USB memory drives with the lab terminals.

Logging On and Doing Windows

An introduction to procedures for logging on and off, changing your password, and manipulating windows.

Lab Terminal Utilities

How to access the browser, mail utility, and Maple, how to edit simple Windows documents, and how to use a flash memory drive with our lab lab terminals.

Remote Access

Instructions for accessing physics machines from other campus machines or from off campus using remote desktop, ssh, sftp, etc.

The Bare Bones

An introduction to the basics of Unix and the emacs text editor and how to compile simple C and Fortran programs.

emacs Reference Card or Postscript version

A summary of common emacs commands. There is also a printable Postscript version.

Unix mail and emacs sendmail

E-mail basics.


An assortment of notes on the use of Maple, the symbolic math package from the University of Waterloo.

More about Unix

Adapted from a lesson by Joe Zachary. See the "Bare Bones" above first.

Unix Utilities

More about g++, gcc, and g77 and an introduction to make and awk.

Unix Reference Card

Summary of commonly used Unix commands.

The gdb Debugger

How to compile C++, C or Fortran code with debugging hooks and run the gdb debugger.

Scientific subroutine packages

To be revised
We have LINPACK and LAPACK. These are scientific subroutine packages with hundreds of useful subroutines.

axis and hist

To be revised
axis and hist are local nonstandard plotting and histogramming programs. They are easy to use.

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Copyright © 1995, 2001, 2006, 2012, 2017 Carleton DeTar
Last modified: 2 January 2017