ChEn 1703 – Introduction to Engineering Computing

Some Useful Resources & Links

  • Chemical Engineering Department
  • Wikepedia – a tremendous online source of information on virtually any topic (including many science and engineering topics)
  • I am beginning a local wiki page that will have tutorials on MATLAB as well as some numerical analysis topics.  Follow this link to explore that wiki.
  • A MATLAB tutorial from the MathWorks
  • An Excel tutorial




Administrative Information:

Course Objectives:

  • Teach students MATLAB and Excel as tools to solve problems.
  • Encourage development of critical thinking and problem solving skills.
  • Provide a broad introduction to the chemical engineering discipline.

Teaching Philosophy:

I assume that you are here to learn. I will do my best to help you achieve that goal. However, learning is primarily your responsibility. You should come to class prepared to participate in the lecture and ask questions. I am happy to meet with you outside of class to discuss questions you have. I also try to respond to email in a timely manner when possible.


Questions can be addressed to .  This email address will be monitored by the TAs and by Professor Sutherland.

Computer Access:

You can access computers with MATLAB in the following locations:

  • The CADE lab in WEB has Windows (WEB 210), Mac (WEB 210) and Linux (WEB 246) computers. Also, you can access the Linux machines remotely if you have a fast internet connection.  Only try this if you are familiar with X-windows and SSH.
  • Library computers running Windows.  (I don’t think that MATLAB is installed on the Mac computers in the library)
  • ICC (MEB 2285) – Chemical Engineering’s computer lab (Windows).  Each of you should have access to the ICC for the duration of the semester.  Note: this is a small lab and computers may not be available.  It may be best to use the CADE lab, which allows remote access.


In addition to the course website, I will use email regularly to send information to the class.  You must have a valid university of utah email address for all correspondence in this class, as outlined by the university’s policy.  If you don’t have a university email account, see here for more information on obtaining one.

Text book:

Introduction to MATLAB 7 for Engineers, William J. Palm III.  ISBN: 978-0-07-254818-1

While I will reference this text book, and recommend that you use it, it is not absolutely required for the class.  I list it more as a good reference for you.  Most homework problems will not be from the book.


  • Homework is designed to provide you with the opportunity to solidify concepts discussed in class.  Engineers are confronted with problems that require assimilation of a range of concepts to achieve a solution.  For this reason, homework problems are designed to force you to apply the concepts discussed in class – not just repeat examples.
  • Homework assignments will be posted on the course web site.  Homework is due by the beginning of class on the date indicated on the schedule. Homework assignments must be submitted electronically.  See the homework page for the link to upload your assignments. Solutions will be posted after the due date.
  • I strongly encourage you to work together on homework assignments.  Discuss the problem and your solution approaches with each other.  However, you must submit your own work.  Copying others’ work is plagiarism and will not be tolerated.  Consequences of cheating and plagiarism include failure in this class and possible dismissal from the university.

Grading policy (tentative)

  • 20% Homework
  • 25% Midterm exam 1
  • 25% Midterm exam 2
  • 30% Final exam

Grades will be assigned on the following scale:

  • 93-100: A   90-93: A-
  • 87-90: B+  83-87: B  80-83: B-
  • 77-80: C+  73-77: C  70-73: C-
  • 67-70: D+  63-67: D  60-63: D-

I reserve the right to adjust this scale downward if I deem it necessary.

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