A specious argument

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I must say I was upset after reading Friday’s column, “The Texas Stampede.” I am pleased that students are starting to realize how important scientific computing is, but I am disappointed at how little they know about the programs and opportunities that UT offers.

The column calls for an interdisciplinary computational program to be created. Little did the author know that such a program already exists on our campus. In fact, the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES) offers a program that is almost exactly like the one he described. It is well-known and appreciated in the computational science community, both in academia and industry. In fact, the original online article linked to a page about Stampede that mentioned ICES explicitly.

The graduate program is called Computational Science, Engineering and Mathematics (CSEM). Students in the program are required to demonstrate proficiency in three areas: mathematics, computation and scientific application.

Students are required to take classes in each of the three areas and then choose an applied area to focus on. Applications that students focus on range from business and finance to engineering and traditional science. This is the framework of the program that Friday’s article describes and then claims does not exist at UT.

I realize that the author of the article may have been trying to say that UT does not have an undergraduate program of this nature. Although CSEM does not have an exact undergraduate counterpart, it does have a Computational Science and Engineering Certificate Program for undergraduates who are interested in computational science. I commend the author for being able to envision such a program without knowing that it exists. However, that the presence of such a program at UT and its success have been ignored and improperly researched is unfortunate.

— Kathryn Farrell
Graduate student, Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences