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Leveraging Symbolic Programming in Engineering Courses: An Example

[+] Author Affiliations
P. Venkataraman

Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY

Paper No. DETC2011-47659, pp. 191-200; 10 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2: 31st Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, Parts A and B
  • Washington, DC, USA, August 28–31, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5479-2
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Symbolic programming, available through software packages, is a useful resource for teaching and learning in upper level professional courses in the undergraduate engineering curriculum. It positively impacts both knowledge and comprehension. The knowledge of required mathematics, previously learnt but easily forgotten, is now available at the fingertips. Symbolic programming makes it accessible through a single line of code. The comprehension is encouraged by visually illustrating the mathematical results through simple graphic commands. Increased knowledge and comprehension improves student’s academic ability, confidence, and maturity. These are necessary drivers of innovation. It takes only a small collection of software commands to deliver these significant improvements in student learning. In this paper we showcase some examples that demonstrate how symbolic programming can be used to service the basic course in aerodynamics. We also highlight the small collection of commands. It is anticipated that every other course in the engineering curriculum that uses mathematics can be completely supported in a similar fashion.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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