Computational Programming and Visualization

within MATLAB Compute Environment

ACM SIG/Computer Science Education Conference
Panel: Exploiting Computer Algebra Systems in C.S. Courses
San Jose, CA
February 28, 1997

Dr. Kris Stewart (
San Diego State University

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Catalog Description: CS 205
Students learn problem solving skills focussed on the needs of science. Use of computing and the software tools of computational science are introduced. Students gain competence in computer communications, programming and visualization. Instructor supervised computer laboratory exercises are used to build the learners' skills.
Prerequisite: Math 150 or Math 121 Calculus
Text: Intro to MATLAB for Engineers & Scientists
Delores M. Etter, Prentice-Hall, 1996.

Goals for CS 205 *

Introduce the tools of Computational Science to Sophomores
Programming (in C within MATLAB environment)
Scientific Problem Solving
Computational Science Tools

Plan to accomplish course goals *

Hands-on introduction to UNIX/Xterminal, supervised by instructor
(Focussed) Learning through discovery theme in computing assignments
Communication of technical findings through written reports

Steps to develop scientific problem solving skills *

Programming Exploration
Communication Skills
Computational Programming
In-class Midterms for Focus on Syntax
Computational Experimentation

Interdisciplinary Learner Audience

Computer Science
Science Disciplines (Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry ...)
Geography (College of Arts and Letters)
Engineering (Mechanical, Electrical, ...)
Future Secondary School Teachers

Plans for Future

Move from "elective" to "integral part of student preparation"
Formalize RRR
Working with faculty member from Reading, wRiting and Rhetoric at SDSU to get suggestions on my bottom-up approach to writing *
Approach New Academic Disciplines (Arts, Social Science ...)
Include Models from Computational Biology
VRML for Interactive WEB Interface