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Computational Science Department at The College at Brockport, State University
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What is Computational Science?

Computational science is an interdisciplinary field in which realistic mathematical models combined with scientific computing methods are used to study, usually through computer simulation and modeling, systems of real-world scientific or societal interest. As computing technology has become increasingly powerful and increasingly available, and as the basic sciences and engineering have advanced, computer modeling and simulation have become progressively more recognized as engines of economic growth and scientific advancement. In fact, the 2005 Report to the President, Computational Science: Ensuring America's Competitiveness, states that "the most scientifically important and economically promising research frontiers in the 21st century will be conquered by those most skilled with advanced computing technologies and computational science applications."

Computer simulation and modeling are now used in virtually every area of science and engineering. Meteorologists and atmospheric scientists use computer modeling to predict future weather and long-term climate changes and to understand severe weather phenomena such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Aeronautical engineers use computers to simulate air flow around aircraft to determine flight characteristics and structural integrity under extreme conditions. Mechanical engineers use computers to simulate car crashes in order to design safety features. The use of "computer experiments" saves millions of dollars and years of development time in aviation and in many other fields.

Astronomers and astrophysicists use computers to simulate the evolution of stars and galaxies. Particle physicists use computers to understand the results of experiments carried out in particle accelerators, to create new theoretical models of subatomic particle behavior, and to help suggest new experiments.

In the field of biology, computers are used to help understand the function of the brain, kidneys, and other organs; to understand the mechanisms of viral infection and other disease progression; and to understand the function of human, animal, plant, and other genes. Biological systems are modeled at the molecular level to understand the biological functioning of toxins and to help design new medicines. "Computational steering" is used to help design groups of candidate drug molecules that are then studied experimentally.

Computational scientists synthesize scientific programming and mathematical skills along with knowledge of application fields to computationally model systems of interest. Areas of mathematics such as calculus, differential equations, statistics, and linear algebra form the basic language in which science and engineering are practiced. Additional required skills include high performance computing, scientific programming, simulation methods, specialized scientific computing packages and tools, and animation and visualization of results.

The skills taught in the Computational Science department are in high demand outside of the College. While at Brockport, our students have completed internships with such prestigious institutions as Harvard University, General Electric Corporation, Boston Quantum Corporation, and the Shodor Institute. Our graduates have gone on to doctoral studies at distinguished institutions such as Purdue, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, George Mason University, and Carnegie Mellon University. Others work with such prestigious employers as Lockheed Martin, Google, Ricoh, ENSCO, Eastman Kodak, and Boeing.

If you would like more information, please feel free to contact Dr. Robert E. Tuzun, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Computational Science, by email at rtuzun@brockport.edu or by phone at (585) 395-5368. You may also visit our Web site at www.brockport.edu/cps or stop by our office at 129 Smith Hall.

 

 

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