Paul Kominsky, Technical Communications, Undergraduate Education

Rick Niciejewski, Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences

Jeff Ringenberg, Computer Science and Engineering

Course Description:

The objective of Engineering 101 is to introduce students in Engineering to the algorithmic method that drives the information age. Algorithms are an organized means to construct the solution of a problem, structured as a well-defined set of steps that can be carried out by a mechanism such as a computer.

Engineering 101 focuses on the development of algorithms to solve problems of relevance in engineering practice and on the implementation of these algorithms using high-level computer languages. It is centered on quantitative and numerical problems that are suited to computational solutions. These often arise as part of larger, more complex problems in engineering practice.

Engineering 101 also ties itself to the introductory physics and math courses, and provides concrete examples of some of the concepts being covered in those classes. Sample problem types might include:

  • Finding area and volume
  • Simulating statistical processes
  • Data analysis
  • Physical simulation
  • Simulating complex systems with simple rules
  • Minimization and optimization
  • Computer graphics
  • Logic Puzzles

In addition to the problem-solving component, students who take Engineering 101 will learn aspects of the C++ programming languages and be exposed to the MATLAB programming language. C++ and MATLAB is used today in many fields of engineering. MATLAB is also popular and has powerful capabilities for handling computation involving matrices and for visualizing data using 2-D and 3-D graphics. It is important to note that MATLAB will be useful in future math and engineering courses.

Students entering Engineering 101 are not expected to know how to program; this skill will be taught as part of the class.

Important note: You must receive a grade of “C” or better in Engineering 101 to fulfill the requirement. Please do not email the professors to request an override. Engineering students should contact the Office of First Year Programs at and Non-Engineering students (cross-campus transfer) should complete the request at this link: