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Unit information: Computer-based Modelling 1 in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Computer-based Modelling 1
Unit code MENG11511
Credit points 10
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Renaud-Assemat
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


Computer-based Modelling 1 introduces the use of computer programming, specifically within the Matlab environment to model engineering systems. The first four sessions introduce the basic concepts of programming in Matlab, including loops, conditional statements, matrices manipulation, function definition and plotting. In the remaining six sessions, students are required to complete a computer-based project to model an engineering problem.


To understand how to design, develop and implement a computer model of an engineering system using the Matlab programming package and build confidence in writing computer code.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the course the student should be able to:

  1. Computation: Use Matlab to perform arithmetical operations and solve basic mathematical problems (matrices manipulation)
  2. Visualisation: Display computational results graphically using the Matlab programming package
  3. Programming: Write functional code using a step-by-step organised process to accomplish specific tasks and model an engineering system (relational and logical operators, conditional statements, and loop structures)
  4. Find information needed with the online help (looking up for existing functions or features, reviewing functionality)
  5. Apply problem solving techniques (top-down analysis)
  6. Use precise, accurate, written language and technical tools such as flow charts, pseudocode to describe a program

Teaching details

1-hour introductory lecture and laboratory classes (1 per teaching week).

Assessment Details

Formative Matlab online introductory tutorial (ILO 1-3)

Formative Intermediate project: Matlab code (ILO 1-5)

Final project (100%): Matlab code + report (ILO 1-6)

Intended learning outcomes are assessed several times but at different levels of complexity.

Reading and References

  • Hunt, B.R., A Guide to MATLAB: for Beginners & Experienced Users, 2006, 2nd ed., Cambridge University Press. ISBN-10: 0521615658. ISBN-13: 97805521615655. Classmark: QA297 HUN
  • Hahn, B.D. & Valentine, D.T., Essential MATLAB for Engineers & Scientists. 2013, 5th ed., Academic Press. ISBN-10: 0123946131.ISBN-13: 9780123943989. Classmark: QA297 HAH
  • In addition, Matlab on-line help is extensively used