METEO 473 Greybush SP2015

Application of Computers to Meteorology Instructor: Steven Greybush Course Hours: Monday and Friday, 3:35 PM – 5:30 PM Course Location: 607 Walker Bldg

METEO 473 Syllabus: Application of Computers to Meteorology

Semester: Spring 2015
Credits: 3.0
Instructor:

Prof. Steven J. Greybush
618 Walker Building
sjg213@psu.edu
(Please include METEO 473 in the subject line of course-related email correspondence.)

Teaching Assistant (TA):

Seth Saslo
614 Walker Building
sfs153@psu.edu

Course Information:

  • Course Hours: Monday and Friday, 3:35 PM – 5:30 PM
  • Course Location: 607 Walker Bldg
  • Office Hours: Wednesday, 1:15 PM – 2:15 PM
  • Course Description: Application of statistical and numerical methods to practical problems in meteorology.
  • Required textbooks and recommended textbooks: None
  • Library reserve materials: None
  • Internet materials and links: ANGEL
  • Professor will provide students with helpful free internet references throughout the semester.
  • A python tutorial can be found at: http://docs.python.org/2/tutorial/.

Course Objectives:

  1. Students can demonstrate skills in using computers to develop and apply numerical   algorithms for the solution of atmospheric problems.
  2. Students can demonstrate the ability to use new programming knowledge as needed for solving problems.
  3. Students can demonstrate the ability to work in a team to produce a final product.

Course Outcomes: 

  1. Students can demonstrate a working knowledge of relevant computer languages and how they may be applied to the analysis and display of atmospheric data.
  2. Students can demonstrate the ability to locate and develop programming methods for application to atmospheric problems.
  3. Students can demonstrate the ability to work in teams and to meet deadlines.
  4. Students can demonstrate the ability to document their methodology within a computer code.
  5. Students can demonstrate the ability to use the Worldwide Web for dissemination of results.

Prerequisites:

One of the following: CMPSC 101, CMPSC 201, CMPSC 202, METEO 297A, or related introductory programming course

If you have not completed at least one of listed prerequisites, then promptly consult with the instructor if you have not done so already.  You should not be taking this course without some prior programming experience.

Overview:

Computer programming is an essential skill, both for academic research and in the workplace.  In the world of large datasets, sophisticated model simulations and forecasting tools, you will find it is frequently the only practical way to proceed toward a solution for your application.

This course provides a forum for gaining experience with applying algorithms, coding techniques, and visualization tools to practical problems in meteorology.  Through the course of the semester you will gain appreciation of both the science and art of program design, implementation, and documentation.  This journey will take patience, ingenuity, creativity, and teamwork; however you will be rewarded with not only a valuable skillset of problem solving techniques, but hopefully a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment in your achievements.

Schedule:

The topics and due dates listed in course schedule is intended as a guideline, and is subject to modification by the instructors.

  • Week 1 Jan 12, 16 Bootcamp Preliminaries: Linux, Editing Files, Data Types Survey
  • Week 2 Jan 23 (19th is campus holiday) Bootcamp
  • Week 3 Jan 26, 30 Bootcamp
  • Week 4 Feb 2, 6 Bootcamp
  • Week 5 Feb 9, 13
  • Week 6 Feb 16, 20 Milestone 1
  • Week 7 Feb 23, 27
  • Week 8 Mar 2, 6 Milestone 2
  • Spring Break Mar 9, 13
  • Week 9 Mar 16, 20 
  • Week 10 Mar 23, 27 Milestone 3
  • Week 11 Mar 30, Apr 3
  • Week 12 Apr 6, 10
  • Week 13 Apr 13, 17 Milestone 4
  • Week 14 Apr 20, 24   
  • Week 15 Apr 27, May 1 Milestone 5

Add / Drop Deadline is Jan 21
There is no formal final exam in this course during exams week.

Course content:

  • Navigation, file manipulation, and basic scripting in linux.
  • Review of programming constructs: data types, arrays, flow control, file I/O.
  • Programming in the Python language with meteorology applications.
  • Manipulation and visualization of geospatial data.
  • Presentation and documentation of results.

Assessment Tools:

Required written/oral assignments

The first few weeks of the course, termed “Bootcamp” will review the fundamentals of programming, with a focus on the Python language.  In class exercises and quizzes will be administered to evaluate mastery of concepts.

Following Bootcamp, students will participate in group projects, working toward a series of milestones.  Each milestone will consist of the development of a new piece of code, in addition to a written report describing the team’s accomplishments.  Milestone grades will be a combination of individual assessment and team effort.

Examination Policy

This course will not have formal examinations (e.g. midterm or final exams).  Rather, students will be assessed using quizzes, individual assignments, and group projects.

Grading Policy

  • Quizzes / Individual Assignments 25%
  • Milestone 1 12%
  • Milestone 2 12%
  • Milestone 3 12%
  • Milestone 4 20%
  • Milestone 5 9%
  • Attendance and Participation 10%

Attendance and Participation: Students are required to attend class and participate actively in all exercises and team projects.  Students are also encouraged to help their classmates to learn programming, and such activity will be viewed favorably in the context of class participation.

Late Assignments: Students will be penalized 10% per day on late assignments, unless the professor approves an extension prior to the deadline for legitimate reasons.  Professor maintains the right to decline acceptance of a late assignment beyond a certain time.

Attendance Policy

Students who miss class for legitimate reasons will be given a reasonable opportunity to make up missed work, including exams and quizzes.  Students are not required to secure the signature of medical personnel in the case of illness or injury and should use their best judgment on whether they are well enough to attend class or not. Other legitimate reasons for missing class include religious observance, family emergencies, and regularly scheduled university-approved curricular or extracurricular activities.  Students who encounter serious family, health, or personal situations that result in extended absences should contact the Office of Student and Family Services for help: http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/familyservices/

Accommodations for students with disabilities:

The Office of Disability Services at http://equity.psu.edu/ods/ requests and maintains disability-related documents; certifies eligibility for services; determines academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services; and develops plans for the provision of academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services as mandated under Title II of the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  A list of these ADA List of Services is provided at http://equity.psu.edu/ods/current-students.

Academic integrity:

For information about the EMS Integrity Policy, which this course adopts, see:
http://www.ems.psu.edu/current_undergrad_students/academics/integrity_policy

Here’s a brief interpretation of that integrity policy, as it applies specifically to this course:  You may never copy answers from another person and present them as your own.  This applies to quizzes, exams, and problem sets.  You are allowed to discuss the problem sets with other students, but the work you turn in must be your own, in your own words.  Suspicion of copying on problem sets will result in an immediate 50% reduction for the first offense, and an F for the course on the second offense.  Cheating on exams or quizzes will result in an immediate F for the course.

Accommodations for students with disabilities:

The Office of Disability Services at http://equity.psu.edu/ods/ requests and maintains disability-related documents; certifies eligibility for services; determines academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services; and develops plans for the provision of academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services as mandated under Title II of the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  A list of these ADA List of Services is provided at http://equity.psu.edu/ods/current-students.

Cancellations and delays. 

Campus emergencies, including weather delays, are announced on Penn State Live at http://live.psu.edu/ and communicated to cellphones, email, the Penn State Facebook page, and Twitter via PSUTXT sign up at http://live.psu.edu/psutxt .

Acknowledgements: We would like to thank previous instructors and TAs of Meteo 473, including George Young, Eugene Clothiaux, Jerry Harrington, and Hans Chen for their contributions to the development and structure of this course.

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