THE BASIS FOR EDUCATION IN THE last millennium was “reading, writing, and arithmetic”; now it is reading, writing, and computing. Learning to program is an essential part of the education of every student in the sciences and engineering. Beyond direct applications, it is the first step in understanding the nature of computer science’s undeniable impact on the modern world. This book aims to teach programming to those who need or want to learn it, in a scientific context.
Our primary goal is to empower students by supplying the experience and basic tools necessary to use computation effectively. Our approach is to teach students that composing a program is a natural, satisfying, and creative experience. We progressively introduce essential concepts, embrace classic applications from applied mathematics and the sciences to illustrate the concepts, and provide opportunities for students to write programs to solve engaging problems.
We use the Java programming language for all of the programs in this book— we refer to “Java” after “programming in the title to emphasize the idea that the book is about fundamental concepts in programming, not Java per se. This book teaches basic skills for computational problem solving that are applicable in many modern computing environments, and is a self-contained treatment intended for people with no previous experience in programming.
This book is an interdisciplinary approach to the traditional CS1 curriculum, in that we highlight the role of computing in other disciplines, from materials science to genomics to astrophysics to network systems. This approach emphasizes for students the essential idea that mathematics, science, engineering, and computing are intertwined in the modern world. While it is a CS1 textbook designed for any first-year college student, the book also can be used for self-study or as a supplement in a course that integrates programming with another field.
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