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We presently are experiencing historically rapid advances in science, technology, and education driven by a dramatic increase in computer use and power. In the past, educators were content to have undergraduates view scientific computation as black boxes (an abstraction of a device in which only its externally visible behavior is considered, not its implementation) and have them wait for graduate school to learn what's inside. Our increasing reliance on computers makes this less true today, and much less likely to be true in the future. To adjust to the growing importance of computing in all of science, Oregon State University's Physics Department now offers a four-year, research-rich curriculum leading to a bachelor's degree in computational physics. The five computational courses developed for this program act as a bridge connecting physics with the computation, mathematics, and computational science communities.
Date of Publication: Mar-Apr 2004