This module provides students with scientific numeracy skills going beyond the use of spreadsheets. It focuses on data pre-processing and QA, processing and visualization, mainly for use with dissertation work which provides the focus and immediate motivation. Students will discover introductory elements of Matlab and Simulink, currently a de facto visualisation and numerical processing standard. Some comparisons to other programming languages, in particular Fortran and C, are provided. The main programming elements are introduced and used in examples: data input, processing, output in numerical and graphical forms, programming tools and structures (loops, conditional statements and other flow control). Additionally, the module introduces selected principles of dynamic systems modelling applied to environmental systems in the form of worked examples and case studies.
Among the range of skills developed when completing this module, students will gain the ability to communicate with programming professionals on a basic level. Students will develop practical understanding of how to solve basic data processing problems using MATLAB or other programming languages, and will gain the necessary skills needed to use a sophisticated, programmable data presentation and visualisation tool. Additionally, students will learn to recognise the fundamental features of computer programming languages, and will be able to devise, modify, run and debug simple MATLAB programs, with the potential to use MATLAB as a comprehensive programming language.