10 questions introducing the UCES Project

A Primer for New Members

  1. What is the UCES Project?

    UCES stands for Undergraduate Computational Engineering and Science, a DOE funded initiative seeking to promote the nascent field of computational science as an interdisciplinary subject at the undergraduate level. The project pursues this goal in many ways, but primarily by assembling and disseminating electronic educational materials in computational science.

  2. Who runs the project?

    The project is administered through the Applied Mathematical Sciences division of the Ames Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. The current director of the project is Dr. James Corones. The associated director is Professor David Martin of Iowa State University. Day to day handling of the project is in the hands of a "coordinator", currently Dr. Tom Marchioro (tlm@ameslab.gov) to whom all inquiries should be sent.

  3. What is the nature of these materials?

    Currently the emphasis is on putting together "classes" in computational science at the introductory level, i.e., aimed at college freshman and sophomores. The computational topics in each "course" are introduced and developed in the context of specific problems and examples drawn from as wide a variety of relevant fields as possible, thus stressing the interdisciplinary nature of computational science. As much as possible, each example is presented in an independent module that includes most or all of the necessary code, and which can be executed in an interactive fashion in an approach designed to stress the journey from physical problem to computational solution, with ongoing feedback for assessment.

    In the near future we hope to implement more advanced courses, as well as a set of materials suited to teachers' colleges.

  4. How often do the UCES members meet?

    We try to have approximately 5 meetings per year, so once every 2-3 months, to discuss our goals and to present materials which have been prepared for the project. To read the minutes from previous meetings, choose one of the following:

  5. What expenses are covered at the meetings?

    The UCES project pays the transportation, room, and meals for all active members who attend a meeting.

  6. How do I go about attending a meeting?

    An announcement of the time and location of a meeting will be given roughly one month in advance. If you plan to attend you should make your own plane reservations, and then RSVP to Lucille Kilmer (kilmer@hannah.ams.ameslab.gov) so we can put together a room list for the hotel, i.e., we will make your hotel reservation for you. After the meeting all relevant receipts can be submitted to UCES for reimbursement.

    VERY IMPORTANT: In order to expedite both the arrangements for attending a meeting, as well as your reimbursement afterwards, it is very important that you supply Lucy with as much "contact information" as possible once you have decided to become involved. A proper database on you should include the following:

    	Daytime Phone and/or FAX
    	E-mail address

    In addition, if you are willing it is a good idea to provide a credit card # so that your hotel room for the meeting can be guaranteed. The alternative is for you to contact the hotel at every meeting and hold the room yourself. Shortly before each meeting a roster of attendees will be sent out, along with the phone # for the hotel so that rooms can be properly reserved.

    Even if you cannot attend the meeting we would appreciate an RSVP so we have some idea of how many people to count on.

  7. What kind of people are sought for the UCES project?

    We actively seek people interested in innovative ways of introducing topics in computational science into the undergraduate curriculum. Those interested in contributing additional materials, or in using contributed materials for teaching elements of computational science, are encouraged to contact us and become involved in the project.

  8. What can I get from participation in the UCES project?

    Professional recognition and interaction with an active group of like-minded educators, and ready access to the wide range of educational materials we are collecting. These materials will be available to students and educators and will be distributed via the internet.

  9. What do I have to contribute in order to participate?

    Those who choose to become "active members" (defined as those who attend more than one meeting) are expected to assist the project by contributing to the store of educational materials. The size of this contribution need not be large, and could, for example, consist of a "module" containing the description and code for some computationally related problem.

  10. What is the nature of a "module"?

    Our goals are to be very inclusive in this project, at least at the outset. Thus, a "module" can be any reasonably independent building block of information from which educational materials in computational science can be assembled.

    For example:

    We are particularly interested in assembling a wide a range of examples of interesting problems in computational science, and actively seek problems drawn from engineering and the physical and life sciences.