Computational Science Technical Note CSTN-080

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Simulated Worlds: Educating Students in Doing Science with Computers

K. A. Hawick

Archived February 2009

Abstract

Computer simulation is a powerful tool to help scientists in general to explore complex systems and models. It is particularly useful as a platform to give students a broad exposure to a variety of scientific problems and applications areas. Computational science tends to require skills that cross traditional boundaries of undergraduate teaching disciplines. Natural science and engineering students often pick up a good background in experimental methods and calculus-oriented mathematics but struggle with some of the discrete mathematics and programming techniques that computer science students are more comfortable with. Some students in both groups may not be fully familiar with statistical methods. Students from all traditional routes will typically lack experience of problem solving and can benefit from the exposure to a range of model systems that can be embodied as simulations. This article presents some ideas and experiences for simulations and associated software tools to help educate computational science students who have a range of different undergraduate backgrounds.

Keywords: visualisation; animation; computational science; education; simulation.

Full Document Text: PDF version.

Citation Information: BiBTeX database for CSTN Notes.

BiBTeX reference:

@INPROCEEDINGS{CSTN-080,
  author = {K. A. Hawick},
  title = {Simulated Worlds: Educating Students in Doing Science with Computers},
  booktitle = {Proc. WORLDCOMP 2009 International Conference on Frontiers in Education:
	Computer Science and Computer Engineering (FECS 09), Las Vegas, USA.},
  year = {2009},
  pages = {196-202},
  address = {Las Vegas, USA},
  month = {13-16 July},
  organization = {WorldComp},
  institution = {Massey University},
  timestamp = {2009.03.24}
}


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