A New MIT Course Teaches Computational Techniques for Solving Real-World Problems

A new course teaches interested students how to use and apply computational techniques in real-world problems like placing cell phone towers and landing spacecrafts. The course developed by MIT Schwarzman College for Computing began last fall, as a multi department initiative with the Common Ground for Computing Educations aims to combine other disciplines in coming up with solutions.

The course sets programming on the subject of engineering and computational science, focused on inventive applications of computation, it will take about half a semester to complete.

Most students who applied for the course are currently studying astronautics, math, or aeronautics. Students can take the course during the first or second year, when they have not yet decided on a major, as it can serve as an eye-opener in many fields.

Course Developers Provide Insights about the Goals of the Faculty

According to Professor Applied Mathematics Laurent Demanet, who designed the course in collaboration with David Darmofal, Jerome C. Hunsaker Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the goal of the faculty is to cover the basic aspects of computational science and engineering.

The foundational principles of learning focus on optimization, uncertainty quantification and simulation. These principles are paired with ponderable examples that are relatable to students who are not exactly computer science majors. Built around solid real-life examples, completion of the course provides a sense of knowing how a lot of real-life problems can be solved with the use of computational models.
Lectures under the course tackle fundamental equations relevant to a specific problem; citing as an example Newton’s law of motion in relation to a Mars landing. Students will then express the basic equations in algorithm.

Professor Demanet adds that the skills-based class combines math with computer science and science, to make sure their students will develop skills that can be used everywhere in their future studies and endeavors.