I acknowledge with gratitude the assistance and help of many friends, colleagues and students in the preparation of the manuscript.1 Tomás Vejchodsky (Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic) read a significant part of the text and provided me with many corrections and hints that improved its overall quality. Martin Zitka (Charles University, Prague, and UTEP) checked Chapter 2 and made numerous useful observations to various other parts of the text. Invaluable was the expert review of the ODE Chapter 5 by Laurent Jay (University of Iowa). The functional-analytic course in Appendix A was reviewed by Volker John (Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken) from the point of view of a numerical analyst, and by Osvaldo Mendez (UTEP), who is an expert in functional analysis. For numerous corrections to this part of the text I also wish to thank to UTEP's graduate students Svatava Vyvialová and Francisco Avila.

I am deeply indebted to Prof. Ivo Dolezel (Czech Technical University and Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic), who is a theoretical electrical engineer with lively interest in computational mathematics, for providing me over the years with exciting practical problems to solve. Mainly thanks to him I learned to appreciate the engineer's point of view. The manuscript emerged from handouts, course notes, homeworks, and tests written for students. The students along with their interest and excitement were my main sources of motivation to write this book.

There is no way to express all my gratitude to my wife Dagmar for her support, understanding, and admirable patience during the two years of my work on the manuscript.

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