Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia

Informatics for Science and Engineering



Academic unit

Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia


Departamento de Informática



Teacher in charge

Pedro Abílio Duarte de Medeiros

Weekly hours


Total hours


Teaching language




The fundamental components of a computer.

The tools of a software development system.

The essential constructions of an imperative programming language.

Some fundamental notions of relational databases.

Some basic concepts involved in the World Wide Web.


Decompose a problem into simpler problems.

Design an algorithm for solving a simple problem.

Write a program, making a correct use of the basic constructions of an imperative programming language.

Test a program in a given programming environment.

State a very simple SQL query.

Access resources available in the network inside a program.


Ability to do a programming project.

Skills in time management.


This unit has no access requirements.

Subject matter

Introduction: Problems, algorithms, programs, and computers. Goals and components of computer systems. Program execution. The interpreter.

Fundamental Concepts of Programming: Constants, variables and expressions. Numbers and strings. Predefined functions. Assignment statement and sequence of statements. Levels of abstraction in problem-solving. Functions. Source code files. Program life cycle. Kinds of error. Unit testing. FOR loops. Vectors. The IF statement. Relational and logical operators. Matrices. Graphics. WHILE loops. File systems. Binary and ASCII files. Structures. Vectors of structures.

Networks and communication protocols. The World Wide Web.

Introduction to databases: the relational model, relations, some basic SQL queries.

Simulation of continuous models.


Main Reference:

Allen B. Downey. Physical Modeling in MATLAB (version 1.1.8). PDF file available at http://greenteapress.com/matlab/

Teaching method

There are two hours of lectures and a lab session of three hours each week.

Lectures are problem-driven. They start with a concrete problem, which motivates the presentation of some computer systems topic, some data type or some programming language construct, and end with the complete source code of a program that solves it.

In the lab classes, students design, implement and test programs for solving simple problems in Science and Engineering fields.

Evaluation method

Assessment Components

Assessment has two components: the laboratory component and the theoretical-practical component.

Laboratory Component

The laboratory component comprises three team programming assignments and one team programming project. Teams should have size two.

The evaluation of the programming assigments and of the project include an individual lab session where students are asked to demonstrate their knowledge about the code submitted.

The laboratory component grade (LComp) is the weighted mean of the three programming assignment grades (A1, A2 and A3) and the project grade (P):

LComp = 0.1 A1 + 0.15 A2 + 0.15 A3 + 0.6 P.

In order to succeed (and to have access to the exam), it is required that:

LComp >= 8.5 .

Theoretical-Practical Component

The theoretical-practical component comprises two tests. If the weighted mean of the test grades is less than 8.5 and LComp >= 8.5, students can do a final exam. The tests and the exam are written, individual and closed-book.

The theoretical-practical component grade (TPComp) is the weighted mean of the test grades (T1 and T2) or the exam grade (Ex):

TPComp = 0.4 T1 + 0.6 T2   or   TPComp = Ex.

In order to succeed, it is required that:

TPComp >= 8.5 .

Final Grade

The final grade (F), defined only if LComp >= 8.5, is:

  • F = TPComp,   if TPComp < 8.5;
  • F = 0.4 LComp + 0.6 TPComp,   if TPComp >= 8.5 .

All grades (A1, A2, A3, P, T1, T2, Ex, LComp, and TPComp) are rounded to the nearest tenth, except the final grade (F) which is rounded to the nearest whole number.