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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Physics and Astronomy : Undergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy)

Undergraduate Course: Computer Modelling (PHYS09057)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Physics and Astronomy CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe course is a practical introduction to computational simulation techniques in physics, using the Java programming language. The rationale behind computer simulation will be introduced and the relationship between simulation, theory and experiment discussed. The course introduces good software development techniques, the algorithm/code design process and how to analyse/understand the results of simulations. Students are expected to work both individually and as part of a group. Assessment is by a series of exercises in semester 1 (completed in a group of 2-3) that lead to a mini-project to write a full simulation code in semester 2 - with an individually marked write-up report. All material is available through Learn. The first three exercises are marked by a demonstrator during a timetabled CP Lab session, or uploaded through Learn to be marked by the lecturers.
Course description - Computer simulation and modelling as part of science
- Basic code and algorithm design
- Software engineering good practice
- Simple object oriented programming in Java
- Use of external tools (VMD) for analysing modelling results
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Practical Physics (PHYS08048) OR Programming and Data Analysis (PHYS08049)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 9, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 25, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 64 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% Coursework: In-class marked checkpoints, submitted source code and written reports.

Checkpoints 30% (marked as a group):
- Checkpoint 1 (0%, formative feedback, assessed in-class)
- Checkpoint 2 (15%)
- Checkpoint 3 (15%)

Mini-project 70% (submitted online):
- Code and Algorithm Design (10%, as a group)
- Source Code (20%, as a group)
- Project Report (40%, individual)
Feedback - Formative feedback for checkpoint 1, regarding Java programming skills and adherence to good programming practices.
- Written feedback for checkpoints 2 and 3.
- Written feedback for the project design document, regarding feasibility and efficiency of proposed project implementation.
- Written feedback for project source code, regarding its layout, functionality, performance and accuracy.
- Written feedback for individual project report, regarding the implementation, results, discussion, and style.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Explain the position of computer modelling in the scientific method, and name examples where it is the appropriate tool to use to solve certain physical problems.
  2. Be able to design algorithms and software to implement models of physical systems.
  3. Write simple, modular programs in Java, while adhering to good software development practices.
  4. Analyse critically and comprehensively the results of physical simulations, e.g. by interfacing with third-party visualisation packages, and comparisons to experimental and theoretical data.
  5. Work as part of a software development team, and resolve conceptual and technical difficulties by locating and integrating relevant information from a diverse range of sources.
Reading List
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information 9 lectures. 1 out of 2 lab sessions in alternate weeks.
Course organiserDr Andreas Hermann
Tel: (0131 6)50 5824
Course secretaryMrs Siobhan Macinnes
Tel: (0131 6)51 3448
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