Fall 2011 - CS 1025 01 - 9 MWF
Fall 2011 - CS 1025 02 - ONLINE
Computational Modeling and Simulation

  1. Note: Section 02 is brand new as of August 19th. It is an ONLINE course, so it fits every schedule and avoids time conflicts.

  2. CS 1025 02 will be delivered through UNI eLearning and the UNI's Learning Management System.

  3. Many of UNI's face to face, traditional classes also use UNI eLearnin as a tool to deliver video tutorials, lectures, tests, and the gradebook and to give the opportunity for class and small group discussions through blogs. Some of the best teaching is indirect, e.g. by providing interesting activities for students to explore together. For the online class, one of the main methods will be by online discussion, sharing of confusions, insights, questions, thoughts, journal entries in small groups or class discussion.

  4. Anyone taking section 02 will have access to office hours and appointments for help, if needed, the same as the section 01 9 MWF class. SKYPE and email and other tools will also be used for online communications.

  5. The movie Ghostbusters will be used as a metaphor for the problem solving and mathematical thinking process.

  6. One goal of the CS 1025 class for the 2011/2012 school year will be to produce the foundation for a Computational Modeling and Simulation rap video that rivals Iowa State University psychology students excellent and very engaging Stat Rap video. With many Electronic Media, Art, and English majors making up the majority of the class, there hopefully will be lots of ideas and lyric fragments to build upon over semester break in December and during summer of 2012!

Who took the class in Fall 2010: Breakdown by major and by class:
                           10 different majors, 
                                70% first semester freshman,
                                     no computer science majors in the class!
Art, English, MIS, Communications: Electronic Media, Psychology, Criminology, Deciding, Exercise Science, Finance, Political Science

Software package used Number of weeks and classes

Modeling examples and exercises

NetLogo (turtle graphics)

This software is free - works on Macs and PCs

Used to teach elementary school children, so it is easy to learn. It is also a TON of FUN.

7 weeks, 14 classes
  1. Its party time: Modeling the mixing and movement of party-goers at a cocktail party using NetLogo.
  2. Flocks, Herds, and Schools: Flocking of birds, migration of wildebeest, schooling of fish. Watch a QuickTime movie (40 seconds) that uses the flocking model simulation. Stanley and Stella: Breaking the Ice.
  3. Hollywood special effects and NetLogo - Behavioral animation and the movies: Batman Returns, The Lion King, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
  4. What causes traffic jams? Simulating and modeling car and truck traffic.
  5. Exercise physiology and muscle development - WRC training model.
  6. Choreography, dance and music with NetLogo. Creating beautiful patterns of sound, shape and color. Dancing turtles.
  7. Predator and Prey models: Lynx versus Hare, Lion versus Wildebeest, Wolf versus Deer.
  8. Modeling 3D Shapes and movements of particles simulating a 3D surface by using time.
  9. MUSIC: Musical models and exercises with NetLogo. Turtles singing "Happy Birthday" and playing "Oh Susanna". Bach, Beethoven, ...

Adobe After Effects (AE)

30 day trial of software is free from Adobe. The class schedule will be planned so that all Adobe assignments will be within a 30 day period, so you can use your PC or laptop for assignments.

3 1/2 weeks, 7 classes.

Simulating various special effects and physical phenomenon using AE and AE Expressions. Gravity, snow, rain, bouncing balls, cartoon exaggeration effects with moving objects, etc.

  1. Portions of Chapter 6, Chapter 8 and Chapter 9 will be covered using class handouts and online instructor created video and HTML tutorials.
  2. Chapter 6: Math Is Your Friend - we will cover just the basic concepts needed to understand the simulations from chapter 9.
  3. Chapter 8: Randomness - you will already be well acquainted with randomness from the NetLogo and Excel portions of the class. It won't take long at all to learn what is needed to understand After Effects Randomness techniques so we can apply them to a few of the chapter 9 simuation examples.
  4. Chapter 9 : Physical Simulations - you will have a new appreciation for special effects that you see in the movie and video industry.

Ventana Vensim

Vensim PLE (Personal Learning Edition) is software that gets you started in system dynamics modeling and is free for educational use. Vensim PLE is ideal for classroom use and personal learning of system dynamics.

3 weeks, 6 classes.
  1. Modeling Population Dynamics with Vensim - System Dynamics approach compared to NetLogo agent based approach.
  2. Assignment #1 for Vensim would be similar to the this Births and Deaths Population modeling exercise from September 2009.
  3. Modeling the intake of the treatment drug Dilantin until it reaches an effective blood concentration above the minimal effective concentration and below the maximum safe concentration. Caffeine, alcohol, aspirin would utilize a similar approach.
  4. Goal-seeking balancing feedback loops - why your coffee cup cools so fast at first.
  5. Room temperature regulated by a thermostat and a furnace. Heating your room or house in the winter or cooling it in the summer.
Microsoft Excel 1 1/2 weeks, 3 classes
  1. Excel model to simulate the spread of rumors in a large high school.
  2. Simulating the game of Life with Excel. Agent based modeling in Excel compared to same model using NetLogo.
  3. Simulating an entire high school or college career of free throws and by experiment finding out the longest miss streak and longest made shots streak.
  4. Monte Carlo simulations using Excel. Throwing darts at a target to get an estimate for the area of the "bulls eye".
  5. Modeling birthdays with Excel. How many times will a group of 23 people have at least two persons with the same birthday?

Textbook: Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams by Mitch Resnick

  1. The http://www.amazon.com site for the book. List price: $22.00 - Amazon.com price: $14.19
  2. MIT Press link includes Google Preview with access to many sample pages.
  3. Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams Book Excerpt: "A flock of birds sweeps across the sky. Like a well-choreographed dance troupe, the birds veer to the left in unison. Then, suddenly, they all dart to the right and swoop down toward the ground. Each movement seems perfectly coordinated. The flock as a whole is graceful-maybe more graceful-than any of the birds within it.

    Does Resnick know how to write, or does Resnick know how to write?

How does a bird flock keep its movements so graceful and synchronized? 

Most people assume that the bird in front leads and the others follow. 
In fact, bird flocks don't have leaders: 
   they are organized without an organizer, 
      coordinated without a coordinator. 
	  And a surprising number of other systems, from termite colonies to traffic jams to economic systems, 
	  work the same decentralized way. 
	  Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams describes innovative new computational tools (NetLogo) 
	  that can help people (even young children) explore the workings of  
	  such systems--and help them move beyond the centralized mindset.

Satisfy your LAC Quantitative Techniques and Understanding requirement
or consider taking 810:025 (now CS 1025) as another university elective.

  1. Very reasonable cost of textbook: $22.00 list price, brand new or $14.19 from Amazon.com.
  2. See a considerable increase of your computer skills and the range of types of software you have used.
  3. Hands-on lab classes: 10 classes in StudioIT 1 (ITT 134). Other classes will often use CS department laptops. We may have one or two classes after spring break in Lang 213 computer lab.
  4. Look over the stated goals of the UNI LAC. Actively engage, foster growth, increased strategies for solving complex problems, quantitative and logical reasoning, problem-solving, information and technological literacy, encourage multiple ways of viewing and exploring complex issues, ...

These are all of the classes I am teaching this fall. Visual Effects, Animation, and Motion Graphics has filled up 3 semesters in a row, but there is still room for fall 2012 as of May 25th.