Spectral Methods for PDEs

Shaun Lui & Mikael Slevinsky (University of Manitoba)

Sep 1, 2023 — Dec 31, 2023

About the course

Spectral methods are numerical methods for solving PDEs. When the solution is analytic, the convergence rate is exponential. The first part of this course gives an introduction to spectral methods. The emphasis is on the analysis of these methods including truncation and interpolation error estimates, and condition number estimates. The second part of the course focuses on fast algorithms for orthogonal polynomials. These algorithms leverage data-sparsities that are present in many of the problems when solved by orthogonal polynomial expansions.


This course is available for registration under the Western Dean's Agreement. To register, you must obtain the approval of the course instructor and you must complete the Western Dean's agreement form , using the details below. The completed form should be signed by your home institution department and school of graduate studies, then returned to the host institution of the course.

Enrollment Details

Course Name
Spectral Methods for PDEs
Sep 1, 2023 — Dec 31, 2023
Course Number
MATH 8410
Section Number
Section Code


For help with completing the Western Dean’s agreement form, please contact the graduate student program coordinator at your institution. For more information about the agreement, please see the Western Dean's Agreement website

Other Course Details

Tentative Time
  • Tues, Thurs 3 - 4:15 (CDT)
  • MH416 and Zoom
  • Course notes will be provided.
  1. J. Shen T. Tao and L.-L. Wang, Spectral methods. Algorithms, analysis and applications, Springer, 2011.
  2. L.N. Trefethen, Spectral Methods in Matlab, SIAM, 2000.
  3. L.N. Trefethen, Approimation Theory and Approximation Practice (Extended Ed.), SIAM, 2020.
  4. S. Olver, R. M. Slevinsky, and A. Townsend, Fast algorithms using orthogonal polynomials, Acta Numerica, 29: 573–699, 2020.
Grading Scheme

There are 4 Homeworks (each contributing 17% toward the grade) and a project (32%).

Academic Integrity

The Department of Mathematics, the Faculty of Science and the University of Manitoba regard acts of academic dishonesty in quizzes, tests, examinations or assignments as serious offenses and may assess a variety of penalties depending on the nature of the offense. Acts of academic dishonesty include bringing unauthorized materials into a test or exam, copying from another student, plagiarism and examination personation. Students are advised to read section 7 (Academic Integrity) and section 4.2.8 (Examinations: Personations) in the “General Academic Regulations and Requirement” of the current Undergraduate Calendar. Note, in particular that cell phones and pagers are explicitly listed as unauthorized materials, and hence may not be present during tests or examinations. Penalties for violation include being assigned a grade of zero on a test or assignment, being assigned a grade of “F” in a course, compulsory withdrawal from a course or program, suspension from a course/program/faculty or even expulsion from the University. For specific details about the nature of penalties that may be assessed upon conviction of an act of academic dishonesty, students are referred to University Policy 1202 (Student Discipline Bylaw) and to the Department of Mathematics policy concerning minimum penalties for acts of academic dishonesty. The Student Discipline Bylaw is printed in its entirety in the Student Guide, and is also available on-line or through the Office of the University Secretary. Minimum penalties assessed by the Department of Mathematics for acts of academic dishonesty are available on the Department of Mathematics web-page. All Faculty members (and their teaching assistants) have been instructed to be vigilant and report incidents of academic dishonesty to the Head of the Department.