Catalog Data:

CE 108: Introduction to Computer Methods in Civil Engineering. Credit 2. Computer programming, organization of problems for computational solution, flow charts, programming; numerical methods, analysis and solution of civil engineering problems.


Nyhoff and Leestmd, Fortran 77 for Engineers and Scientists, 4th Edition, Prentice Hall.


UNIX System, On-line manuals


H.L. Wong, Professor of Civil Engineering


This course is designed to teach basic computer programming skills to first year civil engineering students. Computer algorithms are discussed in detail to stress the importance of computers application in today's engineering curriculum.

Prerequisites by topic:

Sufficient mathematics background from high school years.


  1. Operating system and file structures (.5 week).
  2. Text editing and program syntax (.5 week).
  3. The concept of a computer algorithm, flow charts (1 week).
  4. Basic input/output operations in FORTRAN, disk files and peripheral devices (2 weeks).
  5. Arithmetic and logical expressions in FORTRAN (2 weeks).
  6. Recurrence relationships of mathematical functions (2 weeks).
  7. Algorithm for solving a system of simultaneous equations (1 week).
  8. Structured programming, subroutines and functions (3 weeks).
  9. The concept of pointers, elementary database management (1 week).
  10. The concept of dynamic arrays in FORTRAN (1 week).
  11. Other useful algorithms, e.g., real roots of transcendental functions, Numerical integration, interpolation (2 weeks).

Course Objectives:

  1. To study the operating system and file structures of computers and basic editing programs.

    Outcomes: The student will be able to:
    1. Understand the disk operating system, and basic operations of the windows system.
    2. The creation, editing, deleting and basic maintenance of computer files.

  2. To study the concept of numerical algorithms and their operations.

    Outcomes: The student will be able to:
    1. Develop a numerical algorithm from a set of given instructions or procedures
    2. Create flow-charts as illustrations of numerical algorithms.

  3. To study the basic variables, arithmetic, logical and basic input/output operations in Fortran, to study mathematical functions, subroutines, and structural programming

    Outcomes: The student will be able to:
    1. First write simple fortran computer programs involving the basic operations.
    2. Then write basic computer programs implementing a given algorithm.

  4. To study some useful algorithms: roots of functions & equations, numerical integration.

    Outcomes: The student will be able to:
    1. Write more complex computer programs for more complex algorithms
    2. Debug the errors and execution of complex computer programs.

Computer usage:

Ten Computer projects plus 5 written assignments. Each student spends approximately 4 hours per week in the computer terminal room, programming in Visual Basic or C, Fortran or Matlab.

Laboratory projects:

Laboratory projects for this course are computer projects, i.e., software development. Relation of Course to Program Objectives: The course provides a basic introduction to computer methods in civil engineering. It contributes to the following program outcomes: a, b, c, d, g, i, j. It allows the students to:

  1. Be able to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems.
  2. Have knowledge of contemporary issues.
  3. Recognize the need for continuing life-long learning.
  4. Apply the fundamental knowledge of science, mathematics and engineering principles.
  5. Be able to participate effectively on multi-disciplinary teams.
  6. Be able to write effectively.
  7. Be able to work with, and in specialized applications of, computers in the performance of job functions.

Prepared by:

H.L. Wong