Computational Science and Engineering

Academic Year 2022 – 2023

Overview

Computation is now a crucial tool for discovery in the sciences, engineering, and increasingly so in the humanities. Scientific computation is also a diverse field. It requires a working knowledge of numerical analysis (to develop new and more accurate algorithms), best practices/learn/cse-graduate-certificate/colloquium in software engineering (to implement and maintain ever-growing scientific software systems), computer science (to exploit emerging trends in hardware and programming practices), and domain-specific expertise.

The graduate certificate in computational science and engineering is only open to Princeton University graduate students who are currently enrolled. It is designed to recognize the achievements of students who have undertaken comprehensive training in these topics, both through formal course work and through research in their subject area.

The certificate program was originally proposed and designed to be part of the Program in Integrative Information, Computer and Application Sciences (PICASso) by Professor J.P. Singh, with the resources required to administer the program now provided by the Princeton Institute for Computational Science and Engineering (PICSciE).

 

 

Program Offerings

Program description

To earn the certificate, students must complete four requirements: (1) take for credit and earn a grade of B or better in two core courses; (2) take for credit and earn a grade of B or better in one approved elective course, usually specific to the student’s research area; (3) give a research seminar as part of a colloquium with other program participants at the conclusion of the program; and (4) write a dissertation with a significant computational component, as judged by the dissertation advisor who must write a short letter to certify this requirement. See the FAQ page for additional information.

Important: Only one credentialed certificate is allowed per graduate student.

Courses

Students must take two courses. This requirement is designed to ensure that all students who earn the certificate have a solid foundation in the basic principles of scientific computing including numerical analysis, software engineering, and computer science. A grade of B or better is required in both core courses. 
 
APC 524: Software Engineering for Scientific Computing (Fall). The course covers the tools and techniques that are crucial for effective use of computation in any discipline. Topics include programming in compiled and scripting languages, software management tools and software design, debugging and testing, profiling and optimization, and parallel programming for both shared and distributed memory systems. 
 
APC 523: Numerical Algorithms for Scientific Computing (Spring). The course covers a broad introduction to numerical algorithms used in scientific computing beginning with a review of the basic principles of numerical analysis including sources of error, stability, and convergence. The theory and implementation of technical for linear and nonlinear systems of equations and ordinary and partial differential equations are covered in detail. Issues related to the implementation of efficient algorithms on modern high-performance computing systems are discussed. 


Elective Course

Students are also required to take one elective course. This requirement is designed to give students expert training in their respective subject areas. Elective courses can be selected from any graduate-level course on campus as long as the course contains a significant computational component. Each elective course must be approved by the Director, through information submitted in the certificate program enrollment application, and the elective course will generally be offered by the student’s home department. Courses dealing exclusively with statistics and/or machine learning cannot be used to satisfy the elective course requirement. A grade of B or better is required in the elective course. 

Examples of suitable elective courses include but are not limited to: 

This is not an exhaustive list.

 

Post-Generals requirements

The ability to communicate research to a broad audience, as well as interact with researchers across disciplines on shared tools and challenges, is an important skill for all students to develop. To encourage the development of these skills, students are required to give a research seminar on their dissertation research before graduation, typically in the last year once significant results can be reported. This research seminar occurs as part of a colloquium with other program participants and is organized by PICSciE. The colloquium will occur once per year, typically toward the end of the spring semester. The frequency of the colloquium may be increased to once per semester if needed in a given year if the number of students intending to graduate is large. Students are required to coordinate with the Program Administrator to ensure participation before graduation, and, to help facilitate planning, students are asked to communicate to the Program Administrator any changes to the timeline for completion of degree requirements after submission of the initial online application. Each research seminar is approximately 20 minutes in length with additional time for questions from the audience; the research seminar must be accessible to the broader University community with an interest in computational science and engineering.

The University community is invited to participate as audience members in the colloquium. Students enrolled in the program are highly encouraged but not explicitly required to attend the annual (or biannual) colloquium in years when not participating as a presenter.

Dissertation and FPO

The final requirement for the certificate is that the student’s dissertation research must include a significant computational component. Since the role of computation differs across disciplines, the program will rely on the judgment of experts in the specific discipline to certify whether the “significant computational component” requirement has been satisfied.

Therefore, the student’s dissertation advisor is asked to write a short letter outlining the role of computation in the dissertation and to certify that the dissertation research has included a “significant computational component” as judged relative to the discipline. In cases where the student’s dissertation advisor does not feel that they can certify the computational component of the dissertation, the advisor can request that a member of the PICSciE Executive Committee or Associated Faculty review the dissertation and submit a letter certifying the computational component of the dissertation. In all cases, the Director will review the certification letter and confirm that this requirement has been met. 

Seminar

The ability to communicate research to a broad audience, as well as interact with researchers across disciplines on shared tools and challenges, is an important skill for all students to develop. To encourage the development of these skills, students are required to give a research seminar on their dissertation research before graduation, typically in the last year once significant results can be reported. This research seminar occurs as part of a colloquium with other program participants and is organized by PICSciE.

The colloquium will occur once per year, typically toward the end of the spring semester. The frequency of the colloquium may be increased to once per semester if needed in a given year if the number of students intending to graduate is large. Students are required to coordinate with the Program Administrator to ensure participation before graduation, and, to help facilitate planning, students are asked to communicate to the Program Administrator any changes to the timeline for completion of degree requirements after submission of the initial online application. Each research seminar is approximately 20 minutes in length with additional time for questions from the audience; the research seminar must be accessible to the broader University community with an interest in computational science and engineering. 

The University community is invited to participate as audience members in the colloquium. Students enrolled in the program are highly encouraged but not explicitly required to attend the annual (or biannual) colloquium in years when not participating as a presenter. 

See the Colloquium page for more information. 

Additional requirements

Note on Overlapping Course Requirements in Home Department

If the student’s home department has a required set of core courses (either specific courses or courses distributed across specifically designated areas), none of these courses may be used to fulfill the certificate elective course requirement. If the student’s home department requires a certain number of courses (either in total or in addition to core course requirements), then no more than two courses used to fulfill the requirements in the home department may be used to fulfill the course requirements of the certificate. In other words, in all cases, students must take at least one additional course beyond the student’s home department requirements. 

Faculty

  • Director

    • Jeroen Tromp
  • Executive Committee

    • William Dorland, PPPL Office of the Director
    • Annabella Selloni, Chemistry
    • Jaswinder P. Singh, Computer Science
    • Jeroen Tromp, Geosciences
    • Christopher G. Tully, Physics
  • Associated Faculty

    • Mohamed S. Abou Donia, Molecular Biology
    • David I. August, Computer Science
    • Ian C. Bourg, Civil and Environmental Eng
    • Adam S. Burrows, Astrophysical Sciences
    • Roberto Car, Chemistry
    • René A. Carmona, Oper Res and Financial Eng
    • Jonathan D. Cohen, Psychology
    • Peter Constantin, Mathematics
    • Pablo G. Debenedetti, Dean for Research, Office of
    • Stephan A. Fueglistaler, Geosciences
    • Matthew W. Kunz, Astrophysical Sciences
    • Kai Li, Computer Science
    • John B. Londregan, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Sharad Malik, Electrical & Comp Engineering
    • Luigi Martinelli, Mechanical & Aerospace Eng
    • Reed M. Maxwell, Civil and Environmental Eng
    • Michael E. Mueller, Mechanical & Aerospace Eng
    • Isobel R. Ojalvo, Physics
    • Eve C. Ostriker, Astrophysical Sciences
    • Athanassios Z. Panagiotopoulos, Chemical and Biological Eng
    • Jonathan W. Pillow, Psychology
    • Frans Pretorius, Physics
    • Peter J. Ramadge, Electrical & Comp Engineering
    • Marc Ratkovic, Politics
    • Laure Resplandy, Geosciences
    • Jennifer L. Rexford, Computer Science
    • Clarence W. Rowley, Mechanical & Aerospace Eng
    • Olga Russakovsky, Computer Science
    • Matthew J. Salganik, Sociology
    • Amit Singer, Mathematics
    • Anatoly Spitkovsky, Astrophysical Sciences
    • Brandon M. Stewart, Sociology
    • John D. Storey, Integrative Genomics
    • William M. Tang, PPPL Tokamak Expermntl Science
    • Olga G. Troyanskaya, Computer Science
    • Gabriel A. Vecchi, Geosciences
    • Michael A. Webb, Chemical and Biological Eng
    • David Wentzlaff, Electrical & Comp Engineering
    • Claire E. White, Civil and Environmental Eng
    • Ned S. Wingreen, Molecular Biology
    • Bridgett M. vonHoldt, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • Sits with Committee

    • Choongseok Chang
    • Jay Dominick
    • G. J. Peter Elmer
    • Curtis W. Hillegas

For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.