CE 311K Introduction to Computer Methods

Spring 2002


Term Project List


UNIQUE NUMBER:             13480, 13485

INSTRUCTOR:         David R. Maidment

                                    Office: ECJ 8.612

                                    Phone: Campus 471-4620, CRWR 471-0065

                                    E-mail: maidment@mail.utexas.edu

Website: http://www.ce.utexas.edu/prof/maidment/ce311k/ce311k.htm

OFFICE HOURS    Tuesday and Thursday 3-5PM, ECJ 8.612

LECTURES:              Tuesday and Thursday, 12:30-2:00PM, ECJ 5.410    

LABORATORIES:    Wednesday 3-5PM (Unique #13480), and Thurs 3:30-5:30PM (Unique #13485), both held in ECJ 3.302


                                    Office: ECJ 9.218

                                    Office Hours:

                                    Email: yamamoto@mail.utexas.edu

                                    Website: http://www.ce.utexas.edu/stu/yamamoh/CE311K.htm


OBJECTIVES:          This course is designed to present:

       Computer methods for solving engineering problems

       An introduction to the Visual Basic programming language

       Use of Visual Basic for Applications to expand use of Excel spreadsheets 

PREREQUISITES:   Credit or registration for M408D or 308L. Additional Prerequisite for Civil Engineering Majors: CE 301.  

COMPUTER:            Some proficiency with computers and exposure to the spreadsheet program Excel is expected, equivalent to what is covered in CE 301.

TEXT:                        The required texts are

“Visual Basic 6.0” by Kerman and Brown, Addison Wesley, 2000. 

“Numerical Methods for Engineers”, 4th Edition, by Chapra and Canales, McGraw-Hill, 2002

                                    Other materials (e.g., homework solutions) will be distributed or put on reserve in the Engineering Library, or displayed on the CE 311K web links site:



CLASS FORMAT:    Lectures supplemented with outside reading, homework, and exams.

CLASS OUTLINE:   See attached.

GRADING:                Quizzes, 2 @ 25%       = 50%

                                    Homework                  = 10%

                                    Laboratory                   = 20%

                                    Term Project               = 20%

Any problems, personal or otherwise, affecting grades should be brought to the instructor's attention.

HOMEWORK POLICY:      Homework assignments are due in by 5PM on the day assigned. There is a box outside my door in ECJ 8.6 for turning in assignments after the class hour, if necessary. Homework must be done on clean paper, stapled in the top left corner, have your name in the top right corner, and your name, class and assignment number written on the outside when the homework is folded in half.

EXAMINATIONS:    There will be two 75 minute in-class examinations. Each examination will be closed book, although you will be allowed a 1-page review sheet, and will be given on the date and time indicated. Missed examinations may be made up only if the reason for missing was illness or some other emergency.

EVALUATION:        The University Measurement and Evaluation Center forms will be used during the last week of class to evaluate the course and the instructor.

DISHONESTY:         University procedures will be followed in dealing with cases of suspected scholastic dishonesty. 

ATTENDANCE:        Regular class attendance is expected in accordance with The University's General Information catalog and the College of Engineering policy (see the section on Attendance in the Undergraduate Catalog).

IMPORTANT NOTE:          The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic adjustments for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 471-6259, 471-4241 TDD or the College of Engineering Director of Students with Disabilities at 471-4321.







Tues Jan 15

Introduction to the course, Html basics

Html basics

1.  Creating a homepage using html

Thurs Jan 17

Computer basics

K&B Chap 1, C&C Chap 1

Homework #1

Tues Jan 22

Introduction to Visual Basic (VB)

K&B Chap 2

2. Introduction to MS Visual Basic

Thurs Jan 24

Algorithms and flow charts

K&B Chap 3


Tues Jan 29

Review of Excel

C&C Chap 2

3. MS Excel for Graphing and Curve Fitting, Statistics

Thurs Jan 31

Curve fitting, regression and statistics

C&C Chap 17, 20


Tues Feb 5

Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) in Excel

K&B Chap 11

4.  Excel Macros using VBA

Thurs Feb 7

Elements of Programming

(Term Project Proposals to be posted on website)

K&B Chap 4


Tues Feb 12

Flow control – If-Then statements

K&B Chap 5

5. If-then Statements in VB

Thurs Feb 14

Computational arithmetic

C&C Chap 3


Tues Feb 19



No Laboratory this week

Thurs Feb 21




Tues Feb 26

Flow control – looping

K&B Chap 5

6.  Looping in VB

Thurs Feb 28

Numerical integration

C&C Chap 21


Tues Mar 5

Structured programming

K&B Chap 6


Thurs Mar 7

Error trapping and debugging

K&B Chap 7


Spring Break!




Tues Mar 19

Programming with Arrays

K&B Chap 8

7.  Programming with Arrays

Thurs Mar 21

Solving sets of linear equations

C&C Chap 9


Tues Mar 26

Progress Reports on Term Projects



Thurs Mar 28

Engineering applications of linear equations

C&C Chap 12


Tues Apr 2

Roots of equations

C&C Chap 5

8.   Numerical Analysis

Thurs Apr 4

Engineering applications of equation roots

C&C Chap 8


Tues Apr 9

Newton-Raphson method

C&C Chap 6


Thurs Apr 11


C&C Chap 18


Tues Apr 16



No Laboratory this week

Thurs Apr 18




Tues Apr 23

Advanced Visual Basic

K&B Chap 10

Term project development

Thurs Apr 25


K&B Chap 12


Tues Apr 30

Geographic Information Systems


Term project development

Thurs May 1

Engineering modeling and databases



Friday May 2

Term Projects due to be posted on website




  Term Project


The purposes of the term project are:


  1. To enable you to explore in-depth some aspect of the subject of personal interest to you and to develop experience in the use of computer methods to solve engineering problems
  2. To provide experience in the formulation, execution and presentation of an engineering investigation
  3. To produce a report in html on the world wide web that will be informative to you and to your classmates.

The steps in carrying out the project are:


  1. If you don't already have a personal web page, establish one at the Civil Engineering Learning Resource Center.
  2. Prepare a 1-page proposal in html on your website by Thurs Feb 7 specifying the objective of your project and outlining how you plan to go about executing it. Notify the instructor by email that your proposal is available and you will receive a response by email containing an assessment of the scope of work that you propose. After making any revisions in your proposal that seem necessary in the light of this assessment, this proposal defines the scope of your term project.
  3. Present a report orally in class and have a progress report presented on your web page by Thurs Mar 21. You are expected to make some progress by mid-semester but the main effort on your term project in the later part of the course once you've learned more about the methods in the course.
  4. Present your term paper in html on your web page by the last day of classes (May 2).


If you would like to work in a group to pursue a term project, that is fine, but you must carry out a particular section of the project on which you will present your oral and written report.


Your term paper in html should include:


  1. A table of contents with links to the sections in the interior of the paper
  2. A link to a zip file that contains your program’s executable code and a sample dataset that can be used in the program.
  3. Definition of the engineering problem that your computer program solves
  4. Specification of the input data required, and how it can be obtained
  5. A set of instructions on how to operate your program, with screen shots of the graphical user interface.
  6. An example of the results of your programs operation
  7. An assessment of how effective you think your program is.   What could be done to extend or improve your program?


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