Professional Course

Computational Thinking for Modeling and Simulation

edX, Online
9 weeks
49 USD
Next course start
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Virtual Classroom
9 weeks
49 USD
Next course start
Inquire for more information See details
Virtual Classroom
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Course description

Computational Thinking for Modeling and Simulation

Computational thinking is becoming widely recognized as a skill necessary for every educated person in a technologically advanced society.

We will focus on just a subset of computational thinking which concerns creating models of the physical world – something that engineers frequently need to do. Because of that choice, this course covers many topics normally viewed as within the domain of mathematics such as algebra and calculus, but the solution procedures are algorithmic rather than symbolic.

The major themes of the course are:

  • Representation -- How do you encode information about the world in a computer? How do your choices in representation affect the ease with which you can solve problems?
  • Decomposition -- How do you break a large and diverse problem into many simpler parts?
  • Discretization -- How do you break up space and time into a large number of relatively small pieces? What are the alternative ways of doing this? What are the consequences of discretization procedures for accuracy and speed?
  • Verification -- How do you build confidence in the results of a model?

Upcoming start dates

1 start date available

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  • Virtual Classroom
  • Online
  • English

Who should attend?


  • Algebra
  • Calculus

Training content

  • What is Computational Thinking? (representation, discretization, error, decomposition, verification)
  • Interpolation (building simple surrogates for more complex functions)
  • Integration (processes for numerical quadrature)
  • Randomness (generating and using pseudorandom variables in models)
  • Differentiation (numerical derivatives)
  • Solving equations (Gaussian elimination for linear systems, Newton-Raphson for non-linear systems)

Course delivery details

This course is offered through Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a partner institute of EdX.

3-5 hours per week


  • Verified Track -$49
  • Audit Track - Free

Certification / Credits

What you'll learn

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Select and implement methods for interpolation and understand their consequences for convergence of model results as discretization is refined.
  • Carry out a few simple methods for numerical integration
  • Implement procedures for numerical differentiation
  • Write programs to solve systems of equations, both linear and non-linear

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141 Portland Street
02139 Cambridge Massachusetts


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