CE2NMP-Numerical modelling and programming

Module Provider: School of Construction Management and Engineering, School of Built Environment
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Stefan Smith

Email: s.t.smith@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Numerical models are central to solve complex engineering problems, including assessment of thermal behaviour of environmental systems, heat transfer and fluid flows in the built environment. Numerical modelling and programming helps to find approximate solutions for complex, nonlinear problems where analytic solutions are not available such as the study of microclimates. This module introduces the required knowledge for the formulation of equations, approaches to solve them numerically and ways in which the performance of the developed numerical model can be evaluated. This module also uses computer programming tools such as Matlab or Python to apply the numerical models and find the numerical solutions. A key characteristic of this module is that it builds upon knowledge gained in the module of Engineering Mathematics 1 (CE1EMA) and integrates and applies the knowledge obtained in the module of Fluids Mechanics (CE2FMT), Engineering Mathematics2 (CE2EMA) and Building Services 2 (CE2BSF). 


The aim of this module is to provide students with principals of numerical modelling and programming and enable them to formulate, model and evaluate the performance of the developed modelS to solve engineering problems.

Assessable learning outcomes:

On successful completion of this module the student should be able to:

  • Recognise sources of numerical error and derive and measure the order of accuracy,

  • Conduct Iterative methods to solve numerical models,

  • Design numerical models for physical phenomena including heat transfer and fluids flow,

  • Implement numerical models by programming in MATLAB or Python,

  • Evaluate the performance of the numerical models,

  • Apply probability theory to evaluate numerical models of engineering problems,

  • Apply optimisation algorithm to solve simple engineering problems,

Additional outcomes:

  • To describe the terminology used in numerical modelling and programming,

  • To discuss limitations of numerical modelling,

  • To understand the difference and relationships between analytical and numerical methods in problem-solving.

Outline content:

  • Numerical solutions of ODEs, first and second order,

  • Iterative methods such as conjugate gradients for solving elliptic differential equations,

  • Stiff ordinary differential equation solvers for solving the heat equation,

  • Finite difference schemes for differential equations and their stability,

  • The relation between the relative error of the scheme and the conditioning number,

  • convergence criteria of rec ursive numerical schemes,

  • Stability and perform basic stability analysis,

  • Fourier series,

  • Visualisation of the results of numerical models,

  • Probability-based models,

  • Optimisation algorithms,

  • Agent-based modelling 

Global context:

The skills and knowledge that students will acquire from this module have global applications.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Teaching in this module will be by means of lectures, tutorials and practical classes using facilities available in the computer laboratory. These sessions will be complemented by project activities and guided independent study.

Independent study hours needed depend on the learning style of each individual. The following guide for independent study hours is just an example.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 15 15
Tutorials 5 5
Practicals classes and workshops 10 10
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 7 7
    Wider reading (directed) 5 5
    Peer assisted learning 5 5
    Advance preparation for classes 10 10
    Preparation for tutorials 5 5
    Preparation of practical report 30 30
    Revision and preparation 6 6
    Reflection 2 2
Total hours by term 100 100 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Project output other than dissertation 70
Set exercise 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

There will be a set exercise test in each term which will be assessed summatively and should be submitted online by the end of week 9 in each term. In addition, the outputs of two project work (2000-2500 words), one in each term, should be submitted online by the end of week 11. 

Formative assessment methods:

This module includes formative assessment of exercises and problem-solving practices about numerical modelling and programming that will be discussed in tutorial sessions, practical classes and workshops.

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A mark 0f 40%

Reassessment arrangements:

Students who have failed in their first attempt will be provided with an assignment brief related to numerical modelling and programming and they should prepare a report (4000-4500 words) that should be submitted online.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 29 May 2020


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