Introduction to Elementary Computational Modeling: Essential Concepts, Principles, and Problem Solving, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Introduction to Elementary Computational Modeling

Essential Concepts, Principles, and Problem Solving, 1st Edition

By Jose Garrido

Chapman and Hall/CRC

329 pages | 100 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2011-10-26
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With an emphasis on problem solving, this book introduces the basic principles and fundamental concepts of computational modeling. It emphasizes reasoning and conceptualizing problems, the elementary mathematical modeling, and the implementation using computing concepts and principles. Examples are included that demonstrate the computation and visualization of the implemented models.

The author provides case studies, along with an overview of computational models and their development. The first part of the text presents the basic concepts of models and techniques for designing and implementing problem solutions. It applies standard pseudo-code constructs and flowcharts for designing models. The second part covers model implementation with basic programming constructs using MATLAB®, Octave, and FreeMat.

Aimed at beginning students in computer science, mathematics, statistics, and engineering, Introduction to Elementary Computational Modeling: Essential Concepts, Principles, and Problem Solving focuses on fundamentals, helping the next generation of scientists and engineers hone their problem solving skills.


… offers a solid first step into scientific and technical computing for those just getting started. … Through simple examples that are both easy to conceptualize and straightforward to express mathematically (something that isn’t trivial to achieve), Garrido methodically guides readers from problem statement and abstraction through algorithm design and basic programming. His approach offers those beginning in a scientific or technical discipline something unique; a simultaneous introduction to programming and computational thinking that is very relevant to the practical application of computing many readers will experience later in their academic training, or early in their professional career.

—John West, SIGHPC Connect Newsletter, Vol. 1, June 2012

The fundamental elements of computational modeling are introduced in this nice book. … targets undergraduate students in computer science and allied subjects such as statistics, mathematics, and engineering. The book should also be well received by teachers and other scientists associated with these disciplines.

Computing Reviews May 2012

Table of Contents

Each chapter includes a Summary, Key Terms, and Exercises

Understanding Problem Solving

Understanding Word Problems


Nouns and Verbs

Problem Decomposition

The Language of Computational Problems


Problems with Many Numbers

Problem Solving and Computing



Data Definitions

Programming Languages

Interpretation of Commands with MATLABR and Octave

Computer Problem Solving

MATLAB R and Octave Programming


The MATLAB and Octave Prompt

Variables and Constants

Assignment statements

Simple Mathematical Expressions

Scientific Notation

Built-in Mathematical Functions

Internal Documentation

Computational Models

Introduction To Computational Models


Preliminary Concepts

A Simple Problem: Temperature Conversion

Using MATLAB and Octave

Computational Models and Simulation


Categories of Computational Models

Development of Computational Models

Simulation: Basic Concepts

Modular Decomposition

Average and Instantaneous Rate of Change

Area under a Curve

The Free-Falling Object

Algorithms and Design Structures


Problem Solving


Describing Data

Notations for Describing Algorithms

Algorithmic Structures

Implementation of Algorithms

Computing Area and Circumference



Selection Structure

Complex Numbers with MATLAB and Octave

A Computational Model with Selection

Multilevel Selection

Complex Conditions



Repetition with While Construct

Repeat-Until Construct

For Loop Structure

Data Lists


Creating An Array

Operations on Arrays

Multidimensional Arrays

Applications Using Arrays

Average and Instantaneous Rate of Change

Area Under a Curve



Modular Design

MATLAB and Octave Script Files


Documenting MATLAB and Octave Functions

Mathematical Models: Basic Concepts


From the Real-World to the Abstract World

Discrete and Continuous Models

Difference Equations and Data Lists

Functional Equations

Validating a Model

Models with Arithmetic Growth

Using MATLAB and Octave to Implement the Model

Producing the Charts of the Model

Models with Quadratic Growth


Quadratic Growth

Differences of the Data

Difference Equations

Functional Equations

Models with Quadratic Growth

Solution and Graphs of Quadratic Equations

Models with Polynomial Functions


General Forms of Polynomial Functions

Evaluation and Graphs of Polynomial Functions

Solution to Polynomial Equations

Data Estimation and Empirical Modeling



Curve Fitting

Models with Geometric Growth


Basic Concepts of Geometric Growth

Functional Equations in Geometric Growth

Properties of Exponential Functions

Vectors and Matrices



Simple Vector Operations


Array Indexing

Plotting Vectors

Text Data


String Vectors

String Matrices

Advanced Data Structures


Cell Arrays


The MATLAB and GNU Octave Software


The MATLAB Components

The Desktop

Starting MATLAB

Exiting MATLAB

The Command Window

Current User Folder

The Startup Folder

Using Command Files (Scripts)

MATLAB Functions

GNU Octave

Computer Systems


Computer Systems

Operating Systems


Key Terms


About the Author

Jose M. Garrido is Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science, Kennesaw State University, Georgia. He holds a Ph.D. from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, an M.S.C.S also from George Mason University, an M.Sc. from University of London, and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Universidad de Oriente, Venezuela.

Dr. Garrido’s research interest is on: object-oriented modeling and simulation, multi-disciplinary computational modeling, formal specification of real-time systems, language design and processors, modeling systems performance, and software security. Dr. Garrido developed the Psim3, PsimJ, and PsimJ2 simulation packages for C++ and Java. He has recently developed the OOSimL, the Object Oriented Simulation Language (with partial support from NSF).

Dr. Garrido has published several papers in modeling and simulation, and on programming methods. He has also published six textbooks on objectoriented simulation and operating systems.

About the Series

Chapman & Hall/CRC Computational Science

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
COMPUTERS / Programming / Games
MATHEMATICS / Number Systems