CE311K-Computers

Introduction to Computer Methods

The objective of this course is to introduce the student to computer methods for the solution of civil engineering problems. This includes: 

  • Introduction to computer hardware and operating systems,
  • Organization of engineering problems for computer solution,
  • Selection of appropriate numerical solution software, methods, and algorithms,
  • Elementary numerical analysis of selected algorithms,
  • Writing, compiling, and executing Visual Basic programs and Visual Basic for Applications within spreadsheets,
  • Presentation of problems and their solution,
  • Use of the WWW to communicate and retrieve information


For more information, contact me at: daene@aol.com


Syllabus

Course Objectives & Academic/Learning Goals

Course Objectives & Academic/Learning Goals

The objective of this course is to introduce the student to computer methods for the solution of civil engineering problems. This includes: 

  • Introduction to computer hardware and operating systems,
  • Organization of engineering problems for computer solution,
  • Selection of appropriate numerical solution software, methods, and algorithms,
  • Elementary numerical analysis of selected algorithms,
  • Writing, compiling, and executing Visual Basic programs and Visual Basic for Applications within spreadsheets,
  • Presentation of problems and their solution,
  • Use of the WWW to communicate and retrieve information


Prerequisites

The student is expected to have a working knowledge of calculus and an introduction to civil or architectural engineering.  Thus, the student must have completed the following University of Texas at Austin courses or their equivalent: 

  • Civil Engineering 301, Introduction to Civil Engineering Systems, or equivalent,
  • Mathematics 408C, Calculus I, or equivalent

In addition, the student must have completed, or be enrolled in 

  • Mathematics 408D, Calculus II, or equivalent.


Text Required

  • Schneider, D. I., An Introduction to Programming Using Visual Basic 2008, Prentice Hall, 2008
  • Chapra, S.C. and R.P. Canale, Numerical Methods for Engineering, McGraw Hill, 2000.


Homework Policy

Homework will consist of lecture assignments. The assignments will be assigned by the instructor and due on the date posted in the "assignments" page of the course website or as modified from time to time by the instructor.  The homework assignments that you turn in are intended to represent just your own work. We encourage you to work together in terms of understanding problems, and helping each other learn the material. The actual work should be yours alone.  Late homework assignments will be penalized 20% per day late. Once a homework assignment has been graded and returned, no further homework will be accepted for that assignment. Assignments will be graded based on solution procedure, numerical results, clarity, and appearance of the report.  The instructor may assign a failing grade to any student not turning in 75% of the homework assignments for this course.


Attendance

Attendance is expected.


Office Hours

The instructor should be consulted for problems involving the lecture, homework or laboratory assignments. My office hours are listed on the course website. In addition to my posted office hours, I am available at other times to discuss the course material or other topics of interest to students. Please feel free to come to my office (ECJ 8.6) , call me on the telephone (471-5644), or send me E-mail: daene@aol.com. Please feel free to send me email at any time. I will respond promptly. I expect to be off campus at the Center for Water Research in Water Resources (CRWR) at the Pickle Research Campus on Mondays and Fridays, so I am unlikely to be in my campus office during those times. However, please feel free to call me at CRWR (same phone # as above) or send me an email message during those times that I am not on campus.


Access to Computers

All students registered in this course are expected to have a University Email account. We will be communicating electronically on a regular basis in this course. You are free to use your own computers, if you have them, or computers found in various dormitories and University computer laboratories. The Department has a microcomputer laboratory, the Learning Resources Center (LRC) in ECJ. The LRC is available for your use. Assistants in the LRC are there to operate the lab and respond to specific hardware and software problems. Typically, they do not have any knowledge of our course material, so don't expect them to be much help with that topic.


Exam Policy

Exam procedures - Exams will be 75 minutes long during class periods.  The exams will be open book (see required etxtbook above) and open notes (your handwritten notes and materials made available by the instructor during the course).  Conversion factors, physical properties of fluids and trigonometric formulas will be provided to you on the exam paper as needed. You will be required to perform calculus level mathematics on each exam.  You are responsible to provide acopy of the course textbook and hard copy notes for the exam.  The instructor does not have copies of these materials for use during the exam periods.  Calculators (equivalent to the model allowed on the SAT exam) may be used on the exam, but they must be provided by the student.  The instructor does not have calculators to use during the exams, so bring your own.  Computers (laptops, tablets, or smart phones) are not allowed to be used during the exam period.  Cell phones are not allowed to be used during the exam period. Prior to the end of an exam the time remaining will be announced. You must submit your exam paper at the end of that time. At the end of the exam period the instructor or proctor will leave the room with all submitted exam material. Absolutely no exam material of any kind will be accepted by the instructor or proctor after leaving the exam room.

     Exam dates will be posted on the class website and announced in class.  Students are responsible for informing the instructor of any conflict with this schedule so that, if possible, alternative dates can be agreed upon by the class.

     Makeup exams will not be given. Medical illness (or other comparable situation) will be the only excuse for being given credit for a missed exam. If you miss an exam during the semester for a medical reason, you will be assigned a grade for the exam based on the exams which you have taken as follows: A grade for the exam that you missed will be estimated based on how you did on the other exams during the semester relative to the rest of the class. If you miss an exam due to an illness, you will be asked to present definitive evidence that you were, in fact, ill. You must inform the instructor in advance that you are ill, unless there are compelling reasons why you cannot do so. If you miss an exam for reasons other than illness or other valid excuse, you will be assigned a grade of zero.

     Questions about grading - If, after a homework or an exam has been graded and returned, you have questions about the grading, please write your questions or comments on a separate sheet of paper and turn this in to the instructor with the paper. Papers will be accepted for re-evaluation for only one week after they have been returned.


Project/Design Assignments

Purpose - The purpose of the project is to enable students to explore in-depth some aspect of Civil, Architectural, or Environmental Engineering of interest to them, provide experience in 

  • the use of computer methods to solve engineering problems 
  • formulation, execution and presentation of an engineering investigation
  • a team effort to produce a project, report and presentation that is informative to them and their classmates.

Project Steps - 

1. Students sign up for an area of interest in 

Architectural Engineering (ArE) –www.caee.utexas.edu/areareasofpractice/index.cfm

  • Structural Engineering 
  • Building Energy and Environments
  • Construction Materials Engineering

Civil Engineering (CE) –www.caee.utexas.edu/ceareasofpractice/index.cfm

  • Construction Engineering and Project Management (CEPM)
  • Environmental Engineering (ENV)
  • Geotechnical Engineering (GEO)
  • Materials: Mechanics and Construction (MAT)
  • Structures (STR)
  • Transportation (TRAN)
  • Water Resources Engineering (WR)

2. The instructor prepares teams in areas of interest.  

3. The teams select project topic in their area and prepare a project proposal

4. Teams work on project in teams

5. Teams present final project in class

6. Teams submit final report

Proposals - 

1-page proposal (MS Word) specifying the objective of team's project and an outline how team plans to go about executing the project. The proposal is presented in class: 5 minutes (max) with 2-3 powerpoint slides.


Project Presentations - Presented final project in class, 15 minutes (max) with 12-15 powerpoint slides

  • Introduction 
    • Short statement of problem, its importance, and what report contains
  • Method(s) 
    • Theory and method of how you solved your problem
  • Results 
    • Example of running your program or solution to your problem
  • Conclusions 
    • What did you learn from the project, including an assessment of how effective you think your program or project is, and what could be done to extend or improve your project 

Project Reports – Should contain:

  • Abstract: 1 paragraph summary of project
  • Table of contents 
  • Introduction: statement of problem, its importance, and what the report contains
  • Method: how your team implemented the project
  • Results: example of program or solution
  • Conclusions: what are the important things the team learned from the project, assessment of effectiveness
  • References
  • Appendices: computer code, detailed data tables, etc.

Garding Rubric for Projects

  • Originality
  • Introduction
  • Technical Competence (method, results, assessment)
  • Overall quality of presentation or report (speaking, audience interest, language usage)


Grading

Grading basis - The basis of grading for this course will consist of the following components with the indicated weights:

  • Exams: 50% (2 @ 25% ) 
  • Homework: 10% 
  • Laboratory: 20% 
  • Final Project: 20%  


Grade Ranges - Letter grades will be assigned as follows:

  • A       92 – 100%
  • A-     89 - 91%
  • B+    86 – 88%
  • B      82 - 85%
  • B-     79 - 81%
  • C+    76 – 78%
  • C      70 – 75% 
  • C-     67 - 69%
  • D+    64 – 66%
  • D      58 – 63%
  • D-     55 – 58%
  • F       < 55%


Drop Policy

The standard drop policy is in force.

Course Evaluation

Standard approved Course Instructor web-based form will be used.

Students with Disabilities

The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities.   For more information, contact the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities, 471-6259 (voice) or 232-2937 (video phone) orhttp://www.utexas.edu/diversity/ddce/ssd.

Topical Outline

See Assignments Page