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CSCI 1060 - Scientific Programming

Fall 2018

Instructor David Ferry, Homepage
Course Web Site
Course meeting times Monday, Wednesday, & Friday from 10:00 - 10:50, McDonnell Douglas Hall Rm. 1066
Midterm Exams
October 5th and November 2nd
Final exam
December 17th, 12:00 - 1:50PM
Office hours See my schedule

  1. Course Description
  2. Acknowledgements
  3. Prerequisites
  4. Assignments
  5. Course Schedule
  6. Textbooks and Other Resources
  7. Grading
  8. Links
  9. Academic Honesty
  10. Academic Support
  11. Disability Services
  12. Title IX Statement

Course Description

Computing allows scientists and engineers to quantify and analyze problems to a terrific degree. The particulars of how computers are used will vary from field to field and problem to problem, but the process of computer programming (or more generally- computer-aided problem solving) is similar for everybody. Computers are machines that are incapable of original thought or imagination. Using one effectively requires a solid understanding of what a computer is and is not capable of, and then the mental plasticity to transform the real-world problem into a computer model that (hopefully) bears some significance to the original problem that must be solved. The goal of this course is to teach students this process of solving real-world scientific and engineering problems via computer programming.

Learning Outcomes- At the end of this course, students should be able to:

Catalog Description: Elementary computer programming concepts with an emphasis on problem solving and applications to scientific and engineering applications. Topics include data acquisition and analysis, simulation and scientific visualization.


This course owes a debt of gratitude to Prof. Michael Goldwasser, from whom I took the original course material and format.



Recommended course textbook: MATLAB An Introduction with Applications by Amos Gilat, Published by Wiley

Note: The textbook is recommended for your benefit as a supplementary resource but is not required. Any recent edition of the book is suitable.

(book's website - supplementary videos, example problems, and errata)


There will be approximately 10 assignments for this course and a course project. These are a mix of written and programming assignments whose purpose is to apply course concepts.

Assignments submitted on time will be given full credit. Assignments submitted up to 24 hours late will be given a ten percent penalty. Assignments submitted between 24 hours and 48 hours late will be given a twenty percent penalty. Assignments submitted after 48 hours late will not be given credit, except in the case of extenuating circumstances pre-approved by the instructor.

Course Schedule

A tentative course schedule is below. Note that this schedule may change over the course of the semester. When changes occur, students will be given enough advance notice so that readings and other preparation may be accommodated.

Week Day Topic Reading Notes
Aug 27-Aug 31 Mon Introduction, Course Overview
Intro Program
Syllabus (this website)
Wed Overview of MATLAB
Scalars, operators, and precedence
Gilat Ch. 1 Homework #1 Assigned
Fri Vectors in MATLAB Gilat Ch. 2
Sep 3-Sep 7 Mon No Class: Labor Day
Wed Two-Dimensional Arrays in MATLAB Homework #1 Due
Fri Vectorized Operations Gilat Ch. 3.1 - 3.6 Homework #2 Assigned
Sep 10-Sep 14 Mon Plotting Data Gilat Ch. 5.1 - 5.4
Wed Case Study: Rolling Pairs of Dice Gilat Ch. 5.8
Fri Control Structures Gilat Ch. 6.1 - 6.6 Homework #2 Due
Sep 17-Sep 21 Mon Animations
Case Study: The Motion of a Ball
Homework #2 Due
Homework #3 Assigned
Wed Discrete Simulation
Case Study: Approximate Motion of a Ball
Fri Control Structures: Stock Market Analysis
Sep 24-Sep 28 Mon Basic Input and Output Commands Gilat Ch. 4 Homework #3 Due
Wed More Stock Market Analysis Homework #4 Assigned
Fri Functions Gilat Ch. 7
Oct 1-Oct 5 Mon Case Study: Record Rainfall
Wed Exam Review Homework #4 Due by start of class
Fri First Exam (includes material through Sep 26)
Oct 8-Oct 12 Mon Use of subfunctions
Case Study: Stock Market Analysis solution set
Wed Random Processes
Case Study: the gambler
Homework #5 Assigned
Fri The gambler simulation and random walks (additional notes)
Oct 15-Oct 19 Mon Iterative Solvers
Wed More on Iterative Solvers General code for iterative solver Assignment #5 Due
Fri Random Solver Homework #6 Assigned
Oct 22-Oct 26 Mon No Class: Fall Break
Wed File I/O Gilat Ch. 4.3-4.4
Fri Case Study: DNA to RNA Transcription (code)
Oct 30-Nov 2 Mon Case Study: Encryption Homework #6 Due
Wed Exam 2 Review Exam review programs: argDemo.m, myAverage.m, convertASCII.m, approxPi.m
Fri Second Exam (cumulative) (take home - no class) (download inclinedPlane.m, result.txt and warpeace.txt)
Nov 5-Nov 9 Mon Cell Arrays, Structures MATLAB docs (cell arrays, structures) Project Proposal Assigned
Wed Basic sound processing in MATLAB
Fri Synthesized sounds Project Proposal Due
Nov 12-Nov 16 Mon Sound Processing Homework #8 Assigned
Wed Sound Processing
Fri Traversing Mazes
Nov 19-Nov 23 Mon Traversing Mazes Homework #8 Due
Wed No Class: Thanksgiving Break
Fri No Class: Thanksgiving Break
Nov 26-Nov 30 Mon Image Data Homework #8 Due
Homework #9 Assigned
Wed Finding components of an image
Fri Digital Watermarking
Dec 3-Dec 7 Mon An Introduction to C++ Programming Homework #9 Due
Dec 10th Mon
Project Presentations
(Presentation and Project Submission Guidelines)
Dec 17th Fri Project Presentations (12:00-1:50PM)


Your grade will be determined as follows:

Activity Grade Percentage
Assignments 40%
Project 20%
Midterm Exams 20% each

Grading is done on a straight scale (uncurved). The following scores are guaranteed. The grading scale may be curved upwards (in your favor) at the discretion of the instructor.

Links / Resources


The majority of this course is centered around using MATLAB, an industry standard software for scientific and engineering computing. You can access this software in at least the following ways:

Great reads that deal with computing in an engineering context:

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is honest, truthful and responsible conduct in all academic endeavors. The mission of Saint Louis University is "the pursuit of truth for the greater glory of God and for the service of humanity." Accordingly, all acts of falsehood demean and compromise the corporate endeavors of teaching, research, health care, and community service via which SLU embodies its mission. The University strives to prepare students for lives of personal and professional integrity, and therefore regards all breaches of academic integrity as matters of serious concern.

The governing University-level Academic Integrity Policy was adopted in Spring 2015, and can be accessed on the Provost's Office website at:

Additionally, each SLU College, School, and Center has adopted its own academic integrity policies, available on their respective websites. All SLU students are expected to know and abide by these policies, which detail definitions of violations, processes for reporting violations, sanctions, and appeals. Please direct questions about any facet of academic integrity to your faculty, the chair of the department of your academic program, or the Dean/Director of the College, School or Center in which your program is housed. Specific College of Arts and Sciences Academic Honesty Policies and Procedures may be found here.

Title IX Statement

Saint Louis University and its faculty are committed to supporting our students and seeking an environment that is free of bias, discrimination, and harassment. If you have encountered any form of sexual misconduct (e.g. sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, domestic or dating violence), we encourage you to report this to the University. If you speak with a faculty member about an incident of misconduct, that faculty member must notify SLU's Title IX coordinator, Anna R. Kratky (DuBourg Hall, room 36;; 314-977-3886) and share the basic fact of your experience with her. The Title IX coordinator will then be available to assist you in understanding all of your options and in connecting you with all possible resources on and off campus.

If you wish to speak with a confidential source, you may contact the counselors at the University Counseling Center at 314-977-TALK. To view SLU’s sexual misconduct policy and for resources, please visit the following web addresses: and

Supporting Student Success

In recognition that people learn in a variety of ways and that learning is influenced by multiple factors (e.g., prior experience, study skills, learning disability), resources to support student success are available on campus. The Student Success Center, a one-stop shop, which assists students with academic and career related services, is located in the Busch Student Center (Suite 331). Students can visit to learn more about tutoring services, university writing services, disability services, and academic coaching.

Disability Services

Students with a documented disability who wish to request academic accommodations must contact Disability Services to discuss accommodation requests and eligibility requirements. Once successfully registered, the student also must notify the course instructor that they wish to access accommodations in the course.

Please contact Disability Services, located within the Student Success Center, at or 314-977-3484 to schedule an appointment. Confidentiality will be observed in all inquiries. Once approved, information about academic accommodations will be shared with course instructors via email from Disability Services and viewed within Banner via the instructor’s course roster.

Note: Students who do not have a documented disability but who think they may have one are encouraged to contact Disability Services.

University Writing Services

Students are encouraged to take advantage of University Writing Services in the Student Success Center; getting feedback benefits writers at all skill levels. Trained writing consultants can help with writing projects, multimedia projects, and oral presentations. University Writing Services offers one-on-one consultations that address everything from brainstorming and developing ideas to crafting strong sentences and documenting sources. For more information, visit or call the Student Success Center at 314-977-3484.

Basic Needs Security

Students in personal or academic distress and/or who may be specifically experiencing challenges such as securing food or difficulty navigating campus resources, and who believe this may affect their performance in the course, are encouraged to contact the Dean of Students Office ( or 314-977-9378) for support. Furthermore, please notify the instructor if you are comfortable in doing so, as this will enable them to assist you with finding the resources you may need.