SLU logo

CSCI 1060 - Scientific Programming

Spring 2017

Instructor David Ferry, Homepage
Course Web Site
Course meeting times Monday, Wednesday, & Friday from 12:00 - 12:50, McDonnell Douglas Hall Rm. 1066
Midterm exams
Feb 22nd, Mar 31st, in class
Final exam
May 12th, 12:00PM - 1:50PM
Office hours By appointment (email), feel free to stop by (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 is similar for everybody. This is because computers are ultimately 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, who designed the original course material and format.



Required course textbook: MATLAB An Introduction with Applications, 5th Ed by Amos Gilat, Wiley, 2015

(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
Jan 16-Jan 20 Mon No Class: Martin Luther King Day
Wed Introduction, Course Overview Syllabus (this website)
Fri Overview of MATLAB
Scalars, operators, and precedence
Gilat Ch. 1
Jan 23-Jan 27 Mon Vectors in MATLAB Gilat Ch. 2 Homework #1 Assigned
Wed Two-Dimensional Arrays in MATLAB
Fri Vectorized Operations Gilat Ch. 3.1 - 3.6 Homework #1 Due
Jan 30-Feb 3 Mon Plotting Data Gilat Ch. 5.1 - 5.4 Homework #2 Assigned
Wed Case Study: Rolling Pairs of Dice Gilat Ch. 5.8
Fri Control Structures Gilat Ch. 6.1 - 6.6 Homework #2 Due
Saturday Feb. 4th
Feb 6-Feb 10 Mon Animations
Case Study: The Motion of a Ball
Homework #3 Assigned
Wed Discrete Simulation
Case Study: Approximate Motion of a Ball
Fri Control Structures: Stock Market Analysis Homework #3 Due
Feb 13-Feb 17 Mon Basic Input and Output Commands Gilat Ch. 4 Homework #4 Assigned
Wed More Stock Market Analysis
Fri Functions Gilat Ch. 7
Feb 20-Feb 24 Mon
Wed First Exam (includes material through Feb 15)
Fri Case Study: Record Rainfall Homework #4 Due
Feb 27-Mar 3 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)
Mar 6-Mar 10 Mon Iterative Solvers
Wed More on Iterative Solvers Assignment #5 Due
Fri Random Solver
Mar 13-Mar 17 Mon No Class: Spring Break
Mar 20-Mar 24 Mon File I/O Gilat Ch. 4.3-4.4
Wed Case Study: DNA to RNA Transcription Homework #6 Assigned
Fri Case Study: Encryption
Mar 27-Mar 31 Mon Cell Arrays, Structures
Wed Exam review programs: approxPi.m, argDemo.m, convertASCII.m, myAverage.m Homework #6 Due
Fri Second Exam (download result.txt, warpeace.txt, and pickRPS.p)
Apr 3-Apr 7 Mon Basic sound processing in MATLAB Project Proposal Assigned

Homework #8 Assigned
Wed Synthesized sounds
Fri Project Proposal Due
Apr 10-Apr 14 Mon Traversing Mazes
Fri No Class: Good Friday
Apr 17-Apr 21 Mon No Class: Easter Monday
Wed Image Data Homework #8 Due

Homework #9 Assigned
Apr 24-Apr 28 Mon
Wed Digital Watermarking
Fri Finding components of an image Homework #9 Due
May 1-May 5 Mon An Introduction to C++ Programming
May 8 Mon Project Presentations

May 12th Fri Project Presentations (12:00PM-1:50PM) Presentation and Project Submission Guidelines


Your grade will be determined as follows:

Activity Grade Percentage
Assignments 40%
Project 10%
Midterm Exams 15% each
Final 20%

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 Honesty

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 here. The College of Arts and Sciences policies on academic honesty can be found here.

If you are ever in doubt whether a particular action is a violation of academic honesty, please ask first!

Academic Support

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 assists students with academic and career related services, is located in the Busch Student Center (Suite, 331) and the School of Nursing (Suite, 114). Students can visit to learn more about:

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 the student’s eligibility for 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 to Disability Services.

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 facts 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: