The Role of Programming in the Formulation of Ideas

Unknown author (2002-11-01)

Classical mechanics is deceptively simple. It is surprisingly easy to get the right answer with fallacious reasoning or without real understanding. To address this problem we use computational techniques to communicate a deeper understanding of Classical Mechanics. Computational algorithms are used to express the methods used in the analysis of dynamical phenomena. Expressing the methods in a computer language forces them to be unambiguous and computationally effective. The task of formulating a method as a computer-executable program and debugging that program is a powerful exercise in the learning process. Also, once formalized procedurally, a mathematical idea becomes a tool that can be used directly to compute results.