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Computer-Aided Teaching of All Mathematics (CATAM)



The CATAM Computational Projects course provides an education in solving mathematical problems using a computing environment. The emphasis is on developing mathematical skills rather than programming abilities. The aim is for students to learn to use basic computational techniques and software packages to solve interesting problems, many of which are analytically intractable (or at least algebraically messy). CATAM has been part of the Mathematical Tripos since 1969.

News and Help

Read CATAM news for announcements of misprints and other important information about the projects. Urgent messages are also sent out by email.
Access to MATLAB and Questions about Software
For access to MATLAB, including obtaining your own copy, see the Recommended Software section below. Some questions and answers about software can be found on the MATLAB Q&A page.  A booklet on learning to write MATLAB programs is available online. In addition Mathworks provides MATLAB Onramp, an interactive tutorial on the basics which does not require MATLAB installation.
Other Queries
If you have difficulties with the software, programming or understanding the manual (that are not answered in the above pages), please contact the CATAM helpline by sending an email message to: Answers to some general questions which have arisen can be found here.

Lectures and MATLAB Sessions

  • Part IA Easter term Lectures: There are introductory lectures in the Easter Term of the Part IA year; these are announced in the Lecture Timetable. See this webpage for more details about the most recent Part IA lectures.
  • Part IB Michaelmas term Lecture: In October 2023 in Cockcroft Lecture Theatre, there was a single lecture on the IB introductory project, given by Dr Robert Jack.   *NEW*
  • Remarks regarding CATAM were made at the Part IB and Part II induction lectures at the start of Michaelmas Term 2023. The PDF slides shown are available here for the Part IB induction lecture and the Part II induction lecture.
  • A lecture entitled LaTeX 101 as an introduction to LaTeX is available, given by Prof Stephen Eglen.
  • Slides to accompany the above LaTeX lecture given by Prof Stephen Eglen are also available. Interested students can see the material here.

Computational Projects Manuals

These manuals contain the project questions themselves.

Part IB
The manual for Part IB can be downloaded either as a complete manual, or in sections, from links on the Part IB Computational Projects Manual page.
Part II
The manual for Part II can be downloaded in sections, from links on the Part II Computational Projects Manual page.
If you are a Mathematical Tripos student and you have trouble accessing this information from locations outside Cambridge, then as an alternative to downloading the files you can collect a paper copy in person from the CMS reception. In the vacations you may ask for a copy to be posted to you (telephone 01223 765000, or email CMS reception); please specify whether you require a Part IB blue CATAM manual or a Part II red CATAM manual.
Data files
A few of the projects need data or other files; these can be downloaded from the Data Files page.

Recommended Software

We recommend that programs are written in MATLAB. All undergraduate students at the University are entitled to download and install MATLAB on their own computer, running Windows, Linux, or MacOS. for non-commercial University use only. The files for download are available here, with full installation instructions. MATLAB is also available on the CATAM Managed Cluster Services (MCS) in room GL.04 of CMS, and also on the Computing Service public MCS computers, and the MCS computers at a number of Colleges.
A booklet on learning to write MATLAB programs is available online.
Other Programming Languages
You may, if you prefer, use any other appropriate software on any computer system to which you have access (such as your own computer). If you do this, however, please remember that we cannot promise to help you with programming problems or to provide supporting software.
Word Processing
Word-processing packages, such as Microsoft Word, LibreOffice and LaTeX, are available on the MCS. You can install LibreOffice, LaTeX, and Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus (which includes Word) free of charge on your own computer.
More on LaTeX Processing
A Brief LaTeX Guide for CATAM is available for download. The LaTeX source file, and supporting files, are also available for download as a zip file. Mac and Unix users should already have an unzip utility, while Windows users can download 7-Zip if they have not. The main Brief-Guide.tex file may be helpful as a template.   The material for the "Introduction to LaTeX" lecture can also be found here.