In 2019, Faculty in the MIT Center of Computational Science and Engineering (CCSE) began discussions of CSE educational offerings targeting undergraduates. During these discussions, the potential for an introductory subject in CSE was recognized, in particular one that would build upon the popular introductory programming and computational thinking sequence (6.100A and 6.100B, previously known as 6.0001 and 6.0002). Around the same time, the cross-cutting educational effort in computing, known as the Common Ground for Computing Education, was beginning. With support from the Common Ground, the Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics, the Department of Mathematics, CCSE and the Schwarzman College of Computing (SCC), Prof. Laurent Demanet and I were the main developers and original instructors of this new subject which was first offered in Fall of 2020.
The learning objectives for Introduction to Computational Science and Engineering (CSE.C20/16.C20/18.C20) are to:
- Provide students with an understanding of the role computation can play in solving problems.
- Help students, regardless of their major, to feel justifiably confident of their ability to write simple programs that allow them to accomplish useful goals.
- Position students so that they can compete for research projects and excel in subjects with programming components.
- Introduce students to concepts and methods in computational science and engineering through demonstration and application to modeling, optimization and control, and uncertainty quantification of systems arising throughout science (natural and social) and engineering.
Applications are used from across science and engineering including dynamics, mechanics, robotics, heat transfer, climate science, chemistry, biology, aerospace, neuroscience, and others. This course provides an introduction to computational algorithms for understanding of scientific phenomena and designing of engineering systems. Topics include: computational algorithms to simulate time-dependent phenomena; optimize and control applications from science and engineering; and quantify uncertainty in problems involving randomness, including an introduction to probability and statistics.
Here are some places to learn more about Intro to CSE:
- MIT News article "Making computation come alive"
- MIT Spectrum article "Computing the world around us"
- A description from the Common Ground subject offerings
edX version (MITx CSE.0002x)
We launched the first MOOC version of this course on edX in July 2023! Though we have not finalized our plans, probably we will run this MOOC annually. Stay tuned here or wherever you get your CSE news!