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Shodor Scholars Program
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What is the Shodor Scholars Program?

The Shodor Scholars Program in Computational Science (SSP) is a science, mathematics, and computing scholarship program for rising 9th through 12th graders. The program provides a two-week , academically-intensive education and research program to a competitively-selected group of students. Students use advanced computational science technologies, techniques, and tools to study a wide variety of scientific events. Students are provided structured and open-ended learning opportunities in computational science. The program culminates in a research opportunity in which small teams of students choose an area of scientific interest, identify an interesting problem, and then develop and communicate a computational solution to that problem.

The model at right shows a sample computational solution to how epidemics are studied. In this model, we study three populations of people: susceptible (healthy) people, infected people, and people who have been infected but are now recovered. By changing parameters such as the infection probability and recovery time, we can explore the behavior of this epidemic over a period of time.

During the two week workshop, the following topics will be presented:

  • General overview of computational science
    1. Using other people's models
    2. Modifying other people's models
    3. Building models from scratch
  • Basic numerical methods
  • Scientific programming
  • Model validation and verification
  • Communicating science using computational science
  • Research methods incorporating computational science

Students will be expected to work in teams to solve a variety of small-scale modeling problems, using a variety of computing tools. Opportunities for informal and formal presentations are provided throughout the course of the program. The final week is devoted to the identification of a larger problem, the design and implementation of a computational solution, and the presentation of results.

Who is Eligible?

Shodor Scholar applicants must be rising 9th-12th graders to be considered for this program. Successful applicants will have had at least one course in science, and should be on grade level for mathematics.

The Scholars program is a day (non-residential) program. Students must be available to attend the entire two-week program. The program runs from 9 am to 4 pm daily, Monday through Friday.

What is Computational Science?

Computational science is the newest method of doing scientific research. Computational science, sometimes referred to as "modeling and simulation", is the combination of science, mathematics, and computing. It is used to study scientific events that are difficult to study using "traditional" research methods because the problems are too big or too small, too fast or too slow, too far away, too dangerous, or too expensive.

Computational science is used in all types of science as well as in areas such as economics, linguistics (language), history, psychology, and sociology. In the sciences, some of the types of problems that are studied include:

  • numerical weather prediction (NWP)
  • the structure and behavior of chemicals
  • the interactions between animals, plants, and people in an ecosystem
  • the spread of a disease (epidemiology)
  • the effect of exercise on health
  • determining correct dosages of medicine for patients
  • exploring the interaction of two or more galaxies with each other

Computational scientists are at the forefront of scientific research. Indeed, the "Grand Challenge" problems in science are all problems that can only be solved using computational science!

Facilities and equipment:

All activities take place at the Shodor offices on 807 East Main Street, Suite 7-100, in Durham, North Carolina. Participants have access to laptop computers with internet access.