Course Search 2022-2023

DepartmentGradeCourse TypeElective
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Upper School Computational and Information Sciences Curriculum

The Computational and Information Sciences Department offers a multi-disciplinary course of study that explores the application of computer programming, modeling and simulation to real world problem solving. There is a particular emphasis on information visualization and media creation. Throughout the course of study, topics range from computer graphics, 3D animation and computer music to environmental modeling, information theory and complex adaptive systems analysis.

The Department offers a core sequence of two courses in computer science that is roughly equivalent to the first year of a college computer science major and a course in scientific computing. This core sequence is expanded with a selection of courses in applied computational science covering such topics as complex systems and chaos theory, machine learning and aerospace engineering.


Yearlong Courses

Computer Arts and Sciences 1: Introduction to Design and Problem Solving

Instructor: Department Staff

Enrollment limited to: 12

Prerequisites: Completion of Integrated Math 1
Exceptionally prepared Freshman may petition to take this course.

Open to students in the following grades: 9,10,11,12

Full Year Course

Computer Arts and Sciences (CASci) 1 is an appropriate course for students interested in improving their problem solving skills. This course is intended not only for students contemplating a career in computer science but also for those with general curiosity. No previous programming or extensive computer experience is needed. CASci1 uses the Scheme programming language during the fall semester, to develop a solid foundation in problem solving skills by using a functional programming approach. Student assessment is based on a portfolio of work developed throughout the year and a series of “Mastery Challenges” designed to provide a scope for creativity.

Language Used: LISP

Computer Arts and Sciences 2: Object Oriented Design

Instructor: Department Staff

Enrollment limited to: 12

Prerequisites: Computer Science 1 or permission of the instructor

Open to students in the following grades: 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

This course continues the problem solving focus of CASci 1 and utilizes the Java language to introduce the student to object oriented analysis and design. There is a particular emphasis on 3D graphics and animation using OpenGL. This course is essentially equivalent to a one semester CS1 course at the college level. Student assessment is based on a portfolio of work developed throughout the year and a series of “Mastery Challenges” designed to provide a scope for creativity.

Language Used: Java

Complex Systems Science (Advanced Study)

Instructor: Department Staff

Enrollment limited to: 10

Prerequisites: Concurrent enrollment in Calculus or AP Statistics or permission of instructor

Open to students in the following grades: 11, 12

Full Year Course

This multi-disciplinary course focuses on the application of modeling and simulation principles to complex systems consisting of interconnected or interwoven parts such as a biological organism, an ecological system, the economy, or social dynamics. The subject is interdisciplinary with foundations in mathematics, nonlinear science, numerical simulations and statistics. The course begins with an overview of complex systems, followed by modeling techniques based on system dynamics, autonomous agents and numerical integration.

Rather than a direct programming approach, this course utilizes a range of modeling tools such as MatLAB, Stella, LabViews, R and NetLogo. While this course does not require previous programming experience, it does presume the student is prepared and motivated to engage with a high level of mathematical abstraction applied to complex and ambiguous problems.

Assessment is based on student writing in response to a series of case studies. The case studies are designed to require the creation of specific public policies and solutions based on the exploration of current, real world issues and challenges.

This course is an Advanced Study course and taught at a college level.

Language Used: MatLAB

Space Flight Engineering and Design (H)

Instructor: Department Staff

Enrollment limited to: 10

Prerequisites: Completion of Freshman Physics and Integrated Math 2 or permission of instructor

Open to students in the following grades: 11, 12

Full Year Course

This rigorous honors elective is a multi-disciplinary course for motivated students that combines planetary science research, physics, astrodynamics, aerodynamics and systems engineering in a collaborative design environment utilizing cutting edge software (IDL/ENVI, R), the Environmental Systems Lab, the Science on a Sphere and data from current and past NASA missions. Students will be actively involved in the planning and completion of original science research utilizing high resolution and multispectral data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Odyssey spacecraft and the Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity rovers and other planetary missions (Magellan, Galileo, Cassini).

Based on their research experience, students will then design an original mission concept for an interplanetary mission to a solar system object. Each year will be a new and unique mission. Students will learn NASA and industry standard design and systems engineering methods and tools including software modeling and prototype construction using MATLab, LabVIEWS, Mathematica and other design tools.

Not offered 2022-2023

Language Used:STK

Fall Semester Courses

Introduction to Scientific Programming (ISP)

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Concurrent enrollment in Calculus (Honors) class or above

Open to students in the following grades: 11,12

Fall Semester

With a particular focus on climate and environmental modeling, this course introduces the student to the use of modern computational tools for model-based problem solving. The ISP course utilizes the Mathematica language to explore the concepts and techniques of numerical modeling. We will also use a fully three dimensional climate model, GISS Model 3, to explore how complex models are used in scientific research and public policy formation.

While this course requires no previous programming experience, students must be comfortable with complex mathematical reasoning and be concurrently enrolled in a calculus class.

Language Used: Mathematica

Introduction to Systems Dynamics Programming (ISDP)

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Concurrent enrollment in Calculus (H) or above

Open to students in the following grades:

Fall Semester

From weather and climate to supply chains and medical decisions, we live surrounded by bewilderingly complex systems that we must attempt to forecast. Utilizing the STELLA and AnyLogic modeling environments, this course explores the techniques of complex systems forecasting using systems dynamics (SD) and agent based modeling (ABM). Systems Dynamics is a field of computational modeling developed in the 1960s at MIT, initially for social and industrial systems modeling. Agent Based Modeling has grown out of the intersection between game theory and computational science to become a practical tool for modeling complex systems.

While this course requires no previous programming experience, students must be comfortable with complex mathematical reasoning and be concurrently enrolled in a calculus class.

Not offered 2022-2023

Languages Used: STELLA and AnyLogic

Spring Semester Courses

Intro to CGI Animation

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Completion of Functions Analysis or Math Analysis H

Open to students in the following grades: 11,12

Spring Semester

It seems impossible to watch any movie today that does not have some element of CGI hidden away somewhere. Using the Blender animation environment, this course explores the foundations of computer-generated imaging, or CGI, animation: character rigging and animation control. While we will start with the task of modeling some very simple characters, this is not a course in 3D character design but focuses on how such characters can be controlled and animated. The goal of the semester will be a student scripted, directed and rendered, ten to fifteen second animated scene.

While this course requires no previous programming experience, students must be very comfortable with the use of trigonometry.

Language Used: Blender

Introduction to Media Programming

Prerequisites: Completion of Functions Analysis or Math Analysis H

Open to students in the following grades:

Spring Semester

Using the Pure Data media programming environment, this course explores the world of sound and image synthesis and composition from a computational point of view. Instead of being grounded in performance practice, we focus on the mathematical structures of sound and images (computational synthesis) and how sound and images can be organized in time and space (algorithmic composition). This course will make particular use of the surround sound and media capabilities of the Science on a Sphere (SOS) Theater. The goal of the course will be a two minute media composition of purely synthesized sound and images for the SOS multi-media capabilities.

While this course requires no previous programming experience, students must be very comfortable with the use of trigonometry.

Not offered 2022-2023

Language Used: Pure Data

Courses Offered both Fall and Spring Semesters

Coding for the Web

Enrollment limited to: 10

Prerequisites: Integrated Math 1

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Offered in the Fall and in the Spring

This one-semester course will introduce the students to the basics of web design, with an emphasis on understanding and creating interactive user interfaces. Students will learn the basics of HTML 5 markup along with how to design Javascript functions that will support user interaction in their web pages. Homework assignments will entail writing, reviewing and refining code at home, using a simple text editor. Students are encouraged to come up with their own ideas for an interactive web page.

CASci Studio: Advanced Projects (Honors)

Instructor: Department Staff

Enrollment limited to: 4

Prerequisites: Completion of CASci 2 with grade of B or better and permission of instructor

Open to students in the following grades: 11,12

Offered in the Fall and in the Spring

CASci Studio (H) is a semester elective that allows advanced students to undertake a significant programming project. The course runs in an independent study mode and is structured to allow small groups of students to collaborate or work independently. Students must present an outline for a proposed project for consideration for acceptance into the course. Students may repeat CASci Studio to get a full year experience if desired. Students may proposed in a wide range of programming languages