A profile of the Computational Science Program
Take a look at what past grads from Witt have done with their majors – internships, grad school programs, and first jobs after graduation. It’s not always as cut and dried as you think; a Liberal Arts degree has a lot of flexibility!
Why Computational Science?
Computational science is the field of study that integrates natural science, computer science, and applied mathematics. The problems addressed by computational science typically come from one of the natural sciences. The models developed to describe these problems and the methods used to solve them are often (although not always) mathematical in nature. The implementation of the algorithmic methods requires computer science knowledge for accurate, efficient, and reliable results. The spectrum of scientific problems ranges from models that can be solved on a calculator, through models that require symbolic, numeric, and visualization software, to simulation and optimization models that are so complex that a supercomputer is necessary to solve them.
Computational science has now taken up a position along with the traditional use of scientific theory and experimentation as a third paradigm of scientific methodology. This is largely due to the successful employment of the computer in research and development to model complex physical events, to process large quantities of data, and to provide important insights. Because of the increasing importance of computational science, some of these skills must be provided to the undergraduate science student as well as to the graduate student. Computational science courses clearly strengthen a science program. In addition, within a broad-based liberal arts setting, it is also important to provide a balance that includes communication skills and an appropriate combination of ethics and philosophy of science.
The methods of Computational Science (COSC) have been applied to problems such as aeronautical design, environmental improvement, neuroscience, pharmaceutical design, and weather forecasting. More recently, high performance computation, traditionally used in physics and chemistry, has been applied to biology, geology, environmental studies, and some of the social sciences. The development of COSC as an interdisciplinary field has had a profound effect on the way that basic and applied research in science, engineering, and industry are conducted. Less than ten years ago, these methods required very expensive supercomputers and specialized parallel programming techniques to be effective. Today, a large percentage of these applications can be done on personal computers, workstations, and parallel computing clusters. Using such equipment, the Computational Science program facilitates an in-depth study of computational techniques and modeling approaches as they are applied to the sciences. The program is beneficial to students from any discipline that involves empirical approaches to gain an understanding of the world. This is especially true for students pursuing undergraduate research, including those students intending to pursue graduate studies in such disciplines.
Minor: Computational Science
Goals of Computational Science Within a Liberal Arts Environment:
- Ability to understand and do science
- Skill to develop and use valid scientific models
- Knowledge of the strengths and limitations of the methodologies used
- Proficiency to express ideas orally and in writing
- Desire to Use ethical practices for the benefit of society
Requirements for Minor in Computational Science
Nineteen to 26 semester hours are required for the Computational Science minor, in accordance with the following: Computer Science 150 (Introduction to Programming) or equivalent, either Mathematics 201 (Calculus I) or Mathematics 131 (Essentials of Calculus), Mathematics/Computer Science 260 (Computational Models and Methods), at least 8 semester hours in elective coursework from courses (listed below) containing a significant integrated COSC component, and a capstone project from a separate activity (0-4 semester hours), which substantially involves computational modeling and analysis and results in a formal product such as a written report and/or professional presentation. In addition, COSC Minors are required to have a laboratory experience in two courses that meet the Natural World goal (the General Education program requires only one.)
Required Courses (14-18 semester hours)
- Computer Science 150Q. Introduction to Programming. 5 semester hours. Prerequisites: Level 22 placement on the Mathematics Placement Exam.
One of the following courses:
Mathematics 201Q. Calculus I. 4 semester hours. Prerequisite: MATH 120 or level 25 placement on the Mathematics Placement Exam.
Mathematics 131Q. Essentials of Calculus I. 4 semester hours. Prerequisite: MATH 120 or level 25 placement on the Mathematics Placement Exam.
- Mathematics/Computer Science 260. Computational Models and Methods. 5 semester hours. Prerequisites: Either Mathematics 201 or 131, either Computer Science 150 or permission of the instructor.
Capstone Experience (0-4 semester hours)
In the Capstone Experience, students must demonstrate that they can apply the knowledge from the required and elective coursework in a substantial project within a given discipline. This must involved a significant and integrated computational focus throughout the project. The project must be equivalent to a creditbearing activity of at least 4 semester hours, typically in the student’s major, though it may not simply be a project completed for the required or elective coursework for the major. For students in any major field, the capstone project could take the form of a required senior thesis, a departmental honors project, a project related to one of Wittenberg’s summer programs, a project from an internship, an independent study in the major, a directed student research project, etc. Regardless of the form, the project must result in a formal product such as a professional presentation or report. Before beginning the capstone project, the student must submit a project proposal for approval to both the Director of the Computational Science Minor and the Chairperson of the participating department. This proposal will specify the name of a faculty member to supervise the project, will detail how computational models and computational methods will be used in the project, and describe the plans for the formal presentation of the work. A formal presentation, either written, oral, or both, will be evaluated by the Director, Chairperson, and supervising faculty member.
Elective Courses (8 Semester hours with at at least two of the following)
316. Molecular Genetics and Bioinformatics. 5 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Biology 170 and 180 and Chemistry 121 and 162.
341. Limology. 5 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Chemistry 121 and 162.
342. Stream Ecology. 5 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Chemistry 121, 162, and Biology 341.
346. Ecology. 5 semester hours.
Prerequisites: One group 2, 3 or 4 Biology course and Math Placement 22.
347. Evolution. 4 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Two Biology courses in addition to 170 and 180.
311. Physical Chemistry I. 5 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Chemistry 281, Mathematics 202 and Physics 218.
321. Inorganic Chemistry. 5 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Chemistry 281, Mathematics 202, and Physics 218.
352. Physical Chemistry II. 5 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Chemistry 311.
372. Biochemistry II. 5 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Chemistry 271, Mathematics 201 and Physics 200.
Computer Science/Mathematics 320. Numerical Analysis. 4 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Mathematics 202, Mathematics 205, Computer Science 150.
Computer Science 350. Artificial Intelligence 4 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Mathematics 171 and 205, Computer Science 250.
Computer Science 370. Computer Graphics 4 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Computer Science 275.
Computer Science/Mathematics 380. Optimization
Prerequisites: Computer Science 150, Mathematics 201, Mathematics 205.
300. Econometrics. 4 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Economics 190, Management 210 or its equivalent.
370. Mathematics for Economists. 4 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Economics 310, Mathematics 201 or Mathematics 131.
220. Environmental Geology. 5 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Geology 150 or 110 and a score of 22 on Math Placement Exam.
240. Process Geomorphology. 5 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Geology 150, Geology 210 or permission of instructor.
400. Sedimentology. 5 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Geology 210, 300.
Mathematics 205. Applied Matrix Algebra. 4 semester hours.
Prerequisite: Mathematics 201.
Mathematics 215. Differential Equations. 4 semester hours.
Prerequisite: Mathematics 202.
Mathematics 227. Data Analysis. 4 semester hours.
Prerequisite: a score of 25 on the Math Placement Exam.
311. Classical Mechanics. 4 semester hours.
Prerequisite: Physics 220.
320. Computational Physics. 2 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Physics 220, Mathematics 202, Computer Science 150.
321. Signal Processing. 2 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Physics 218, Mathematics 202.
332. Electromagnetism. 4 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Physics 311, Mathematics 212.
410. Mathematical Physics. 4 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Physics 311, Mathematics 212, Mathematics 215.
411. Quantum Mechanics. 4 semester hours.
Prerequisite: Physics 311.