School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics

BSc (Hons) Mathematics with High Performance Computing

Supercomputers represent the frontier of numerical research. They need special programming so they can be used for simulations and extracting information from big data. As an expert in high performance computing (HPC), you will understand the logic and define the algorithms to harness this technology. The course covers simulations and data analysis including extracting information from big data. Complete this degree through a project on our HPC cluster with the help of a leading expert.

Based upon the 2016 National Student Survey, 93 per cent of our BSc (Hons) Mathematics students felt our lecturers were good at explaining things; 87 per cent felt their communication skills had improved and 100 per cent thought the course was intellectually stimulating.

Students can apply the mathematics, programming and algorithms they have learnt on the supercomputer at the University of Plymouth. This is a powerful cluster that enables fast computation via parallel programming 

Key features

  • Master the algorithms and logic underlying programming using Python (a modern, object-orientated, programming language), Matlab, the statistics language R and Simul8.
  • Carry out a project on our local supercomputer, helped by a leading expert in high performance computing. 
  • Pure and applied mathematics, modules in probability and options in theoretical physics: get to grips with the foundations of modern mathematics.
  • Study at a recognised NVIDIA GPU research centre and a NVIDIA teaching centre. Our GPU research facility is used to solve problems including the mass gap of Yang-Mills theory, Lattice-Boltzmann methods for fluid flow, Markov Chain Monte Carlo applications in statistics and data analysis, lava flow simulation, game theory and cyber-security.
  • Benefit from outstanding teaching: in the 2016 National Student Survey 93 per cent of our final year students said that “Staff are good at explaining things” and 100 per cent felt that “The course is intellectually stimulating”.  
  • Leading research experts teach you: 68 per cent of our research papers were classified as ‘World Leading’ or ‘Internationally Excellent’ in the UK 2014 Research Excellence Framework.
  • You are equipped to succeed: you are given a tablet PC so that you can access Podcasts and eBooks which form part of the extensive suite of online support materials for your courses.
  • Our doors are open, we have a dedicated study space, the Maths Lab, clickers for immediate feedback in class – in short, we support you to reach your full potential.
  • Become a confident, effective communicator, able to present your ideas visually, verbally and in writing. Small group tutorials help you acquire these skills. 
  • “‘As a result of the course, I feel confident in tackling unfamiliar problems.’ 93 per cent of students agreed with this statement in the 2016 National Student Survey.”
  • Increase your employability with a strongly-recommended, paid industry placement between the second and final years. Recent employers include GlaxoSmithKline, the Department of Communities and Local Government, VirginCare, Visteon and Jagex. Progress, like our previous graduates, into careers in research, work in the Met Office, GCHQ, finance and industry or postgraduate degrees in applied mathematics.
  • Accredited by the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, your degree sets you on a path to Chartered Mathematician (CMath) status.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In Year 1 you'll acquire a solid foundation through mastering calculus and analysis, linear algebra and numerical methods. Investigate the rules of probability and concepts of randomness. We’ll introduce programming using Matlab and R. New material includes an introduction to logic and methods of proof and the number theory underlying public key cryptography, which you use every time you purchase something online. You'll also study branches of pure mathematics such as group theory and graph theory.

    Core modules
    • BPIE113 Stage 1 Mathematics Placement Preparation

      This module is aimed at students who may be undertaking an industrial placement in the third year of their programme. It is designed to assist students in their search for a placement and in their preparation for the placement itself.

    • MATH1601 Mathematical Reasoning

      This module introduces the basic reasoning skills needed for the development and applications of modern mathematics. The importance of clear logical thinking will be explored in various mathematical topics. This will include fundamental properties of prime numbers, their random generation and use in cryptography.

    • MATH1602 Calculus and Analysis

      This module covers key topics in calculus and analysis and prepares students for the rest of their degree. It has a greater emphasis on proof and rigour than at A-level and introduces some multi-dimensional calculus together with the reasoning skills needed for the development of modern mathematics. The rigorous underpinning of analysis will be developed and applied to limits of sequences, series and functions.

    • MATH1603 Linear Algebra and Complex Numbers

      This module explores the concepts and applications of vectors, matrices and complex numbers. The deep connection between algebra and geometry will be explored. The techniques that will be presented in this module are at the foundation of many areas of mathematics, statistics, physics, and several other applications.

    • MATH1605 Probability with Applications

      An understanding of uncertainty and random phenomena is becoming increasingly important nowadays in daily life and for a variety of fields. The aim of this module in probability is to develop the concept of chance in a mathematical framework. Random variables are also introduced, with examples involving most of the common distributions and the concepts of expectation and variance of a random variable.

    • MATH1606 Numerical and Computational Methods

      This module provides an introduction to the Maple and Matlab software, computational mathematics and creating simple computer programs. Students will use Maple/Matlab interactively and also write procedures in the Maple/Matlab computer languages. The elementary numerical methods which underlie industrial and scientific applications will be studied.

    Optional modules
    • MATH1604PP Symmetry and Space

      This module will introduce the foundations of the study of symmetries - group theory, and the study of the characteristics of shapes and spaces - topology and geometry. The topics covered, and geometry in general, will be placed in the context of the wider discipline of mathematics, introducing their historical development and their relationship with (for example) art and physics.

    • MATH1608PP Understanding Big Data from Social Networks

      The amount of data from questionnaires and social networks has grown enormously. Computer tools are needed to understand what these data are telling us. Students will gain valuable experience in questionnaire analysis, and in the use of software for understanding and reporting the underlying messages from data sources such as social networks. They will also meet appropriate high performance computing techniques.

  • Year 2
  • Mathematical computing prepares you for programming at supercomputer level and will teach you an object oriented language and the paradigms of parallel programming. You’ll master numerical sampling Monte Carlo techniques for evaluating problems where deterministic methods break down. Expand your mathematical skills with modules including advanced calculus techniques and mathematical statistics. A differential equations module allows you to solve problems both analytically and numerically. 

    Core modules
    • BPIE213 Stage 2 Mathematics Placement Preparation

      This module is aimed at students who may be undertaking an industrial placement in the third year of their programme. It is designed build on the Level 1 module (BPIE111) and to assist students in their search for a placement and in their preparation for the placement itself.

    • MATH2601 Advanced Calculus

      Partial differentiation is consolidated and applied to practical problems. Multiple integration is introduced. Vector calculus is introduced and its use in integration explored.

    • MATH2602 Statistical Inference and Regression

      The module provides a mathematical treatment of statistical inference, including confidence intervals and hypothesis testing. Methods of estimation are explored, focusing on maximum likelihood estimation. The module also demonstrates the underlying mathematical theory of the general linear model, through a variety of applications, using professional software.

    • MATH2603 Ordinary Differential Equations

      The module aims to provide an introduction to different types of ordinary differential equations and analytical and numerical methods to obtain their solutions. Extensive use will be made of computational mathematics packages. Applications to mechanical and chemical systems are considered as well as the chaotic behaviour seen in climate models.

    • MATH2604 Mathematical Methods and Applications

      Vector calculus is extended to higher dimensions and applied to a range of important scientific problems primarily from classical mechanics and cosmology. Differential and integral calculus is applied to the solution of differential equations and the orthogonal functions bases are constructed. The crucial mathematical concepts of integral transforms (Fourier and Laplace) and Fourier series are introduced.

    • MATH2605 Operational Research and Monte Carlo Methods

      This module gives students the opportunity to work on open-ended case studies in operational research (OR) and Monte Carlo methods, both of which are important methods in, for example, industry and finance. It allows students to work on their own and in teams to develop specific skills in OR and programming as well as refining their presentation and communication skills.

    • MATH2607 Mathematical Programming

      The module will introduce some common mathematical methods used in high performance computing (HPC). The students will write and run some numerical programs on a high performance computer.

  • Optional placement year
  • An optional but highly recommended placement provides you with valuable paid professional experience to help make your CV stand out. Typically students are paid around £17,000 and employers have included the Fujitsu, GlaxoSmithKline, Liberty Living, Vauxhall Motors, VirginCare, Visteon and Jagex Games Studio.

    Core modules
    • BPIE331 Mathematics and Statistics Placement

      A 48-week period of professional training spent as the third year of a sandwich programme undertaking an approved placement with a suitable company. This provides an opportunity for the student to gain experience of how mathematics and statistics are used in a working environment, to consolidate the first two stages of study and to prepare for the final stage and employment after graduation.

  • Final year
  • The final year focuses on an individual project using our high performance computing (HPC) machines, supervised by a leading researcher in applying HPC to problems in theoretical physics, engineering, medical sciences and finance. A group project module will see you working in a team to solve real world challenges. You’ll study partial differential equations, which includes modelling car crash tests and tsunami wave propagation. Round off your studies by choosing from a number of optional modules including fluid dynamics, optimisation, financial modelling and statistical data analysis.

    Core modules
    • MATH3605 Partial Differential Equations

      This module introduces Partial Differential Equations using real-life problems. It provides a variety of analytic and numerical methods for their solution. It includes a wide range of applications including heat diffusion and the Tsunami wave.

    • MATH3609 Optimisation, Networks and Graphs

      This module introduces the mathematics of continuous and discrete optimisation. It provides the theoretical background and practical algorithmic techniques required to model and solve a diverse range of problems.

    • MATH3613 Data Modelling

      This module provides an employment relevant tool box of statistical modelling techniques and a rigorous treatment of the some underlying mathematics. The Bayesian framework for statistical inference will be presented and compared with the classical approach. Relevant computational algorithms, including Markov chain Monte Carlo, will be described. Application rich modelling problems will be considered.

    Optional modules
    • MATH3604 Geometry and Algebra

      Plane affine, hyperbolic, and projective geometries will be explored, from the Kleinian point of view. Then an introduction to rings and fields will be given with applications in geometry. All of these topics require a brief review of group theory.

    • MATH3606 Classical and Quantum Mechanics

      This module introduces advanced classical mechanics and the key ideas of quantum mechanics to students with a mathematics background. An overarching theme will be the key role of symmetry, both for classical motion and quantum behaviour.

    • MATH3611 Electrodynamics and Relativity

      This module introduces Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism and Einstein's theory of special relativity. It includes a wide range of applications of electromagnetism, the Lorentz transformations and some of the apparent paradoxes of relativity together with their resolution. It will also explain why E = mc^2.

    • MATH3612 Dynamical Systems

      This module presents an introduction to the basic concepts and techniques needed to analyse nonlinear dynamical systems modelled by differential equations and difference equations. Both regular and chaotic dynamics will be explored.

    • MATH3616 Professional Experience in Industry

      This module provides an opportunity for final year students to gain experience in applying mathematics in a professional environment and to develop relevant key competencies by working in a commercial environment for one day a week.

    • MATH3623 Financial Statistics

      This module introduces students to the concepts and methods of financial time series analysis and modelling and to a variety of financial applications. The module reviews the necessary univariate and multivariate time series models and inferential techniques. Model selection, forecasting and curse of dimensionality problems are treated both at methodological and computational levels.

    • MATH3625 High Performance Computing in Context

      In this module students will perform structured investigations on a variety of advanced topics in high performance computing. Written and oral presentations of the work will be made.

    • MATH3628 Project

      In this module students will work individually and independently, with help and advice from a supervisor, on a topic chosen by the student. This could range from a topic preparing for a particular career or a subject which the student is particularly interested in exploring in depth. Written and oral presentations of the work will be made.

    • MATH3629 Fluid Dynamics

      Fluid flow problems are formulated mathematically as systems of partial differential equations. These will then be solved and the results interpreted for a mixture of theoretical and practical examples of both inviscid and viscous fluid flows. Applications studied will include: aeronautics, ocean waves and a variety of industrial topics.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BScMathematicswithHighPerformanceComputing ProgrammeSpecification September 2017 5301

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

120 - 128

A level
A typical offer is 120 points to include minimum of 2 A levels, including grade B in A level Mathematics or B in Further Mathematics or A level Mathematics and Statistics or Math (Pure and Applied) excluding general studies. Mathematics (mechanics) accepted as mathematics.

BTEC
18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: DDM to include a distinction in a mathematics subject: individual interview/diagnostic test will be required.

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. This information enables us to process your application quickly and avoid delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

Access
Pass Access to HE Diploma (e.g mathematics, science, combined) with at least 33 credits at merit and/or distinction and to include at least 12 credits in mathematics units with merit. Individual interview/diagnostic test will be required please contact admissions@plymouth.ac.uk for further information.

International Baccalaureate
30 overall to include 5 at Higher Level mathematics. English must be included.

Other qualifications are also welcome and will be considered individually, as will be individuals returning to education, email maths@plymouth.ac.uk.

Students may also apply for the BSc (Hons) Mathematics with Foundation Year. Successful completion of the foundation year guarantees automatic progression to the first year of any of our mathematics courses.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary

English language requirements

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2017 2018
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International £12,250 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) Check with School To be confirmed
Part time (International) Check with School To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.
Scholarships and Awards
For 2017 entry, we have the following scholarship:
  • Mathematics Scholarship of up to £1,000: students are automatically paid £500 for an A in Mathematics A level and/or £500 for an A in Further Mathematics A level. This is awarded to anybody who puts us as their firm choice before the 1st of August 2017. The scholarship is paid in the first semester of the first year.
  • There are additional prizes and awards to reward high marks in later years.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.



Duane Appleby - Level 3 Support Team Lead, IBM

Plymouth University's maths lecturers comprise a dedicated, supportive group of people, each of whom endeavours to give students all the help they need to achieve the best results possible.

Find out more about Duane's role at IBM after graduating

Sean O'Reilly-Portman - BSc (Hons) Mathematics with High Performance Computing student

Studying Mathematics with HPC at Plymouth University has been an incredibly enlightening experience for me. This degree has supplied me with a repertoire of life and employability skills that I and my future potential employers find absolutely invaluable; namely programming, reasoning, research, and people skills. My peers and lectures have been highly supportive of my own academic development. If I were to refer anyone to study mathematics, I would say “If you want to study an interesting, challenging and intellectually complementing degree, come to Plymouth and study Mathematics with HPC.”

Technology supported learning

From podcasts, online videos, eBooks and electronic copies of lecture notes, to in-class voting and online feedback, you’ll have access to all the resources you need with your own tablet PC. You can also use this to create podcasts in assessments.

Access to University online systems such as module sites, the eLibrary and email at your fingertips.

Mathematics Scholarships: up to £1000

Choose to study mathematics with Plymouth University and you may be eligible to receive a scholarship of up to £1000.

Make Plymouth University your firm choice before the 1st of August 2017 and you will automatically be paid £500 for an A in Mathematics A level and/or £500 for an A in Further Mathematics A level. You will receive the scholarship during the first semester of the first year.

Additional prizes and awards will be available in later years to reward high marks.

Studying mathematics at Plymouth

Professor David McMullan, Associate Head of School, and final year student Dan Hodges discuss what it’s like to study here, and show you some of our facilities.

Meet some of your lecturers