[Beowulf] Teaching Scientific Computation (looking for the perfect text)

Nathan Moore ntmoore at gmail.com
Tue Nov 20 21:00:33 PST 2007

Andrew, please screed away.

My students are mostly physics majors.  Ideally, they will have played with
python (specifically vpython for animations) while in the intro physics
sequence, and by the time they get to this computational course they may
have seen that computers are useful for doing "stuff" and want to learn

This specific course is something like a mix of basic procedural
programming, numerical methods, data analysis, and symbolic manipulation.
My research work is computational, so I hope that the students learn enough
in the 2 credits to start working with me on simple projects.  I do not hope
or expect to produce experts with the course, but by the end of the
semester, most of the students have acquired sufficient basic skill to code
up a small Lennard-Jones molecular dynamics simulation, visualize and
present the results with latex/gnuplot, and do some of the corresponding
theory in Mathematica.
Is that sufficiently ambiguous?


On Nov 20, 2007 4:29 PM, Andrew Piskorski <atp at piskorski.com> wrote:

> On Tue, Nov 20, 2007 at 12:33:43PM -0600, Nathan Moore wrote:
> > I regularly teach a college course in a physics department that deals
> with
> > scientific computation.  After students take the course, I expect that
> > they'll be able to write simple "c-tran" style programs for data
> analysis,
> > write basic MD or MC simulations, and be fairly fluent in Mathematica.
> Who are your students?  In particular, how many total semesters worth
> of programming classes will most of them be taking?  Just one, or two
> or three or more?  And where does your class fall in that progression?
> If you have a bunch of engineering-type students, most of whom will
> only get ONE semester of computer programming in college, and your
> class is IT, then I've got a screed about that all written up and
> ready to go.  But from the the rest of your email, it sounds like that
> might not be the case.  So, what's the full situation?
> --
> Andrew Piskorski <atp at piskorski.com>
> http://www.piskorski.com/

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Nathan Moore
Assistant Professor, Physics
Winona State University
AIM: nmoorewsu
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