SPRING 2015 - CS 1025 01 - 8-9:15 am TTh
Modern Tools for Exploring Data
(This class is especially for Art, Interactive Digital Studies, Graphic Design, English, and Electronic Media majors)

Formerly CS 1025 was named Computational Modeling and Simulation

  1. This class is an alternative to Mathematics in Decision Making. It fulfills LAC Core Competency Category 1C: Quantitative Thinking and Understanding.

  2. Note: The class meets at 8 on TTh in ITTC 134 classroom/computer lab (aka Studio IT 1). EVERY CLASS IS HANDS-ON.

  3. Computer Graphics software packages used: NetLogo (LOGO Turtle Graphics), Scratch, Maya, Vensim, Adobe Flash, and Adobe After Effects software.

    Netlogo, Scratch, Maya and Vensim are all FREE software.

    Adobe Flash and After Effects offer a free 30 day trial, which is more than enough time as we will only spend a week or so on each one of those.

  4. The movie Ghostbusters will be used as a metaphor for the problem solving and the mathematical thinking process. Computational modeling concepts, issues and process will be related to the artistic process.

  5. One goal of the CS 1025 class for 2012 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.

Satisfy your LAC Quantitative Techniques and Understanding requirement
or consider taking CS 1025 as another university elective.

  1. CS 2880 11 Note: CS 2880-11 Topics: 3D Graphics in Maya is also of interest to Art, Graphic Design, and Electronic Media majors.

  2. Maya received an Academy Award in 2003, winning the Oscar for Scientific and Technical Achievement for the software.

  3. CS 1010 01 Micrcomputer Applications and Systems Integration will cover Adobe Fireworks, Adobe Flash, and Microsoft Excel, with a special emphasis on developing simple games for the web.

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
As you can see, ART majors were tied for the lead in Fall 2010.  
Unfortunately, the class was only offered at 9 MWF and conflicted with 2D and 3D concepts, so freshman Art majors could NOT take it.  

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

  1. The http://www.amazon.com site for the book. List price: $23.00 - Amazon.com price: $20.14
  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.

The following table needs to be UPDATED. It does NOT include SCRATCH or Autodesk Maya.


Percentage estimated time on each area needs to be done again.

Software package used or key theme/topic of class Number of weeks and classes

Modeling examples and exercises

The Computer in the Visual Arts 2 weeks, 6 classes (spread and illustrated/discussion topic throughout the class as well).
  1. Readings and my notes on portions of The Computer in the Visual Arts by Anne Morgan Spalter. Class and discussions/blogs connecting the CS 1025 02 concepts and experiences to Art and 2D and 3D graphics concepts and practical skills.
  2. The movie Ghostbusters as a metaphor for problem solving, design, how developing a work of art parallels designing a computer simulation model.
  3. Waggle dancing bees and how what biologists have discovered about their method of problem solving relates to being a scientist or an artist! (Not to be confused with the Interlude Dancing Panthers - 6 p.m. Monday evening, August 29th - UNI volleyball! First ever Interlude dance at a fall athletic event. First chance to dance in the 2011/2012 school year.)

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. It is a great bridge between Art and Computer Science/Computer Graphics!

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.

2 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 week, 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?