The MPhil programme in Scientific Computing is a full-time 12-month course which aims to provide education of the highest quality at Master’s level. Covering topics of high-performance scientific computing and advanced numerical methods and techniques, it produces graduates with rigorous research and analytical skills, who are well-equipped to proceed to doctoral research or directly into employment in industry, the professions, and the public service. It also provides training for the academic researchers and teachers of the future, encouraging the pursuit of research in computational methods for science and technology disciplines, thus being an important gateway for entering PhD programmes containing a substantial component of computational modelling.
The MPhil in Scientific Computing has a research and a taught element. The research element is a project on a science or technology topic which is studied by means of scientific computation. The taught element comprises of core lecture courses on topics of scientific computing and elective lecture courses relevant to the science or technology topic of the project. Most of the projects are expected to make use of the University’s High Performance Computing Service.
The students will attend lecture courses during Michaelmas Term (some courses may be during Lent Term) and then they will undertake a substantial Research Project over the next 6 months (from March to the end of August) in a participating Department. The research element aims to provide essential skills for continuation to a PhD programme or employment, as well as to assess and enhance the research capacity of the students. It is based on a science or technology topic which is studied by means of scientific computation. Research project topics will be provided by academic supervisors or by the industrial partners who are working with the participating Departments and may be sponsoring the research project.
There is equal examination credit weighting between the taught and the research elements of the course, which is gained by submitting a dissertation on the project and by written assignments and examinations on the core and elective courses, respectively.
Weighting of the assessed course components is as follows: Dissertation (research) 50%; written assignments on the core courses 25%; written examinations on the elective courses 25%.
By the end of the course, students will have:
- a comprehensive understanding of numerical methods, and a thorough knowledge of the literature, applicable to their own research; - demonstrated originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in their field; - shown abilities in the critical evaluation of current research and research techniques and methodologies; - demonstrated self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and acted autonomously in the planning and implementation of research.
The taught element comprises core lecture courses on topics of all aspects of scientific computing, and elective lecture courses relevant to the topic of the research project.
The taught element comprises core lecture courses on topics of all aspects of scientific computing, and elective lecture courses relevant to the topic of the research project. There is equal examination credit weighting between the taught and the research elements of the course, which is gained by submitting a dissertation on the project and by written assignments and examinations on the core and elective courses, respectively. Weighting of the assessed course components is as follows: Dissertation (research) 50%; written assignments 25%; written examinations 25%.
The core lectures are on topics of high performance scientific computing numerical analysis and advanced numerical methods and techniques. They are organized by the Centre for Scientific Computing and are taught and examined during the first five months (October-February). Their purpose is to provide the students with essential background knowledge for completing their dissertation and for their general education in scientific computing.
In particular, their objective is to introduce students to the simulation science pipeline of problem identification, modelling, simulation and evaluation - all from the perspective of employing high-performance computing. Numerical discretisation of mathematical models will be a priority, with a specific emphasis on understanding the trade-offs (in terms of modelling time, pre-processing time, computational time, and post-processing time) that must be made when solving realistic science and engineering problems. Understanding and working with computational methods and parallel computing will be a high priority. To help the students understand the material, the lecturers will furnish the courses with practical coursework assignments.
The lectures on topics of numerical analysis and HPC are complemented with hands-on practicals using Linux-based laptops provided by the course (students may bring their own), as well as on the University’s High Performance Computing Service.
Appropriate elective lecture courses are selected from Master’s-level courses offered by the Departments of the School of Physical Sciences, Technology or Biological Sciences. The choice of courses will be such as to provide the students with essential background knowledge for completing their theses and for their general education in the materials science application of the project. They are decided in consultation with the project supervisor. While every effort is made within the Departments to arrange the timetable in a coherent fashion, it is inevitable that some combinations of courses will be ruled out by their schedule, particularly if the choices span more than one department.
For continuation to a PhD programme in Scientific Computing, students are required to gain a Distinction (overall grade equal or greater than 75%).