Introduction to Numerical Methods and Computational Science and Engineering

Course Description

At the heart of many scientific and engineering problems are mathematical models, which are posed as sets of equations that cannot be solved using pencil and paper. Programs to solve these problems were some of the earliest applications of computers. The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the exciting field of computational physics.

You will explore topics including linear algebra, root-finding, time integration, differential equations, and some practical considerations in scientific computing. You will perform hands-on experiments using programs written in the Python programming language. Previous experience with programming is not required for this course.

Upon completion of this course it is expected that you will:
• understand key mathematical algorithms that lie at the core of many numerical methods;
• have a conceptual understanding of different types of problems across science and engineering disciplines and how numerical methods are used to tackle these problems;
• have knowledge of how different industries use numerical methods to solve their problems; and
• be excited to pursue further study in this field.

This course is designed to be a low-stress and supportive environment in which you explore how computers are used to simulate phenomena in engineering and physics. To this end, you are welcomed and encouraged to investigate and bring to class any examples of interest.


Students taking this class should be familiar with algebra at the high school level, including functions, polynomials, exponentials, logarithms, and solving equations. Additionally, previous experience with physics (such as Newton’s laws of motion and gravity) and calculus (derivatives and integrals of functions) is helpful but not required. This course recommends a laptop for course-related programming, games/simulations, etc. Please note that some devices (e.g., Chromebooks) do not allow software downloads onto a desktop and so will not accommodate the specific needs of this course. If you have questions about this requirement please reach out to [email protected]


One Section Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: July 25, 2022 - July 29, 2022
Duration: 1 Weeks
Meeting Times: M-F 3:30P-6:20P
Status: Closed
Format: On-Campus
Instructor(s): Benjamin Grossman-Ponemon
Course Number: 10430