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NOVA PhD Course "Introduction to Scientific Programming & Simulation" - Open for Applications

The course will take place on 17-21 October 2016 in Umeaa, Sweden. Application deadline: 17 September 2016.

Introduction to Scientific Programming and Simulation
Introduction to Scientific Programming and Simulation
Shutterstock, Mila Supinskaya
The course is of 3 ECTS and is organised by Prof. Arne Pommerening, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).

Course information webpage
Apply here

Course Description
For many studies increasingly the application of advanced quantitative methods including simulations are required. Standard software for these specialised applications is not available and researchers are often faced with the task to develop their own computer code. This task is not easy for non-specialists, particularly if several programming languages have to be used at the same time.

The objective of this module is to familiarise researchers, who are beginners in programming, with the essential concepts and techniques necessary to directly engage in scientific programming without a need to go through lengthy programming courses. The course participants are also encouraged to bring their own computing problem to the class.


  • Why is programming necessary for research work?
  • R refresher (basic knowledge is assumed)
  • Introduction to C++
  • Programming concepts (object-oriented, structured, software life cycle, re-usability of code, user interfaces)
  • Basic research/simulation applications in R and C++
  • Combining R, C++ and, NetLogo and Shiny
  • Automated scientific reporting for reproducible research
  • Version control, packaging, visualisation

Programme Outline

Pre-course preparation including brief cv and PhD work.

17 Oct.:
Course introduction,
Presentation of the participants,
R installation and IDE RStudio, R refresher.

18 Oct.:
Implicit and explicit loops in R,
Scripting simple simulations,
Effective data management and Visualisation in R.

19 Oct.:
Concept of higher programming languages using C++ as an example,
Data structures in C++, I/O,
Syntax of C++,
Object-oriented programming,
Coding simple research applications.

20 Oct.:
Combining R and C++ using Rcpp,
Writing simple and more advanced research applications using R and C++ in combination

21 Oct.:
Combining R and NetLogo/Shiny
R packaging, version control, batch mode.

Main Teachers

  • Professor Arne Pommerening, Department of Forest Resource Management, SLU
  • Researcher Gerhard Nachtmann, Department of Forest and Soil Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU)
  • Researcher Sebastian Schnell, Department of Forest Resource Management, SLU
  • Professor Terje Gobakken, The Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management (INA), Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

Please find more information on the course and how to apply on the course information website:

Published 3. May 2016 - 12:54 - Updated 3. May 2016 - 13:05