Challenges and Prospects of the Python African Computational Science and Engineering Tour Project

Speaker: Godfrey Akpojotor

Type: Talk

Computer and computer based activities have pervaded our teaching/learning process as well as research so much so that the 21st century academic activities in science and engineering (S & E) cannot be fully engaged without some level of computation. An important choice of a programming language especially in a developing country is the ease to learn it and its accessibility.

Python's unique features and the possibility that any user connected to the internet can download the entire packages into any platform, install it and immediately begin to use it makes it a preferred environment for introducing students and new beginners to elegant and all purpose programming. Therefore in Africa, the Python African Tour project has been launched and I am coordinating its use in computational Science and Engineering (S & E) code-named Python African Computational Science and Engineering Tour (PACSET).

We present here an overview of the three projects currently under the PACSET using captivating Python demonstrations from our growing compendia of demonstrations for each project:

  1. teaching Python to students, new beginners as well as expert programmers in S & E
  2. using Python to model, simulate and visualize concepts, laws and phenomena in S & E to compliment the teaching of theory and experiment
  3. using Python to model, simulate and visualize laboratory experiments to aid the teaching and learning of experimental S & E.

Since these projects involve teaching and training as well as modeling, simulation and visualization, we employ all the Python scientific tools in our demonstrations such as NumPy, SciPy, SymPy, Matplotlib and VPython. I also discuss the challenges and prospects of the PACSET: this include our solutions to the challenges of providing students in tertiary institutions with computing systems as well as cheap portable charging devices to supplement the irregular power supply in some parts of Africa.

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