Introduction to scientific computing


The modern world is ever more dependent on computer science and information technology advances. Especially in life science in recent years, explosive amounts of biological information have been obtained and deposited in various databases. The predominant source of this data is “high-throughput” experimentation, involving simultaneous execution of hundreds or thousands of experiments. A comprehensive understanding of biological phenomena can be achieved only through the integration of all available biological information and different data analysis tools and applications. It becomes crucial for modern scientists to acquire skills that will enable to deal with this data explosion. It is not surprising that scientists with strong computer skills fare better in their position and research. This course aims to provide learners with the basic notions underlying computer science. The focus of this course in on computer architecture, scientific computing and basic programming.

Aim of the course:

To provide participants with basic knowledge on computer architecture and available resources, programming in MATLAB, and good IT practices.

By the end of the course, the participants should be able to:

  • Describe personal computer & cluster architecture and their usage.
  • Describe the main operational systems & programming languages
  • Write basic scripts and functions in MATLAB
  • Describe some principles of good programming practice
  • Name the available IT resources and people in charge at the GIGA/ULiège

Target group: PhD candidates. Course is limited to 15 participants

Prerequisites: Working knowledge of English; personal laptop; preferably with MATLAB pre-installed, or it will be installed on Day 1.

Duration of the course and workload: 5 days; 38 hours

Organization of the course:

Except for Day 1, each morning is spent discussing the material studied and exercises solved the previous afternoon. A one hour of lecture on a specific topic is also scheduled. In the afternoon, attendees will be expected to follow MOOC videos (MATLAB and Octave for Beginners, edX platform) and read a few chapters from a MATLAB book. Then they will try and solve some problems by writing MATLAB code in pairs.

Support resources:

MOOC: MATLAB and Octave for Beginners 
This will be the main MOOC about MATLAB programming. The whole pdf book for the course (chapters to read and exercices) will be made available or it can be purchased on 

Additional resources