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Module Descriptor

MECH1004 Computing

Code MECH1004
Alt. Codes(s) None
Title Computing
Level 1
UCL units/ECTS 0.5 / 7.5
Start September
End April
Taught by Dr John Aston


Students considering registering for this course must have attained passes in A-levels or the equivalent that meet the minimum requirements for admission onto the undergraduate programmes in Mechanical Engineering.

Course Aims

To provide an introduction to the Department’s computing facilities. To develop skills for solving engineering problems using computers. To teach the fundamental principles of High Level Programming Languages (presently by studying FORTRAN) and to introduce students to specialised software for technical calculations (presently focusing on MATLAB). To introduce basic numerical techniques that are pivotal to engineering calculations but only made viable by computer computation. To illustrate the pitfalls within computer programming. To make students healthily wary of computer programs.

Method of Instruction

Lecture presentations (1.0 hour per week) plus supervised/assisted weekly “hands-on” sessions (1.5 hours per week).


Assessment is by means of a mid-sessional test at the end of the first term and then two computing assignments in term two. The mid-sessional test is a multiple-choice/short answer type test only. The two computing assignments require the development of computer code in FORTRAN and MATLAB respectively.

Recommended Reading

The Salford Fortran package is installed on all Departmental teaching computers. Copies of lecture slides and sample programs are available via MECH1004 Moodle page.

Sample references for the course are:

  • “Fortran 90 Programming”, Ellis, Philips and Lahey, Addison-Wesley Publications Company, ISBN 0-201-54446-6
  • “MATLAB 6 for Engineers”, Biran and Breiner, Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-130-336319


Introduction to computers. Overview of hardware and software systems. High level programming languages. FORTRAN 95 programming. Modular program development. Program testing and debugging. Introduction to numerical methods and matrix manipulation in FORTRAN 95 programs. Exercises in engineering computation. Introduction to MatLAB.

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