CERTIFICATE IN INFORMATICS AND MODELING
2014—2015

Link to WesMaps Courses

Analytical approaches using informatics and modeling are becoming increasingly important in many fields of study, and much of the curriculum increasingly emphasizes these approaches. The Certificate Program provides a framework to guide students in developing these analytical skills based on the following two pathways:

These pathways share several common themes but have components that make them distinct. Both pathways emphasize informatics and quantitative reasoning and share certain courses.

The CSM pathway introduces students to modeling techniques and provides students with a solid foundation in the quantitative simulation, evaluation, and prediction of natural and social phenomena such as the collision of galaxies, protein folding, and the behavior of markets. Its principal pedagogical and intellectual goal is to make students aware of the power of the quantitative, algorithmic method for understanding the world. The idea is to provide a course of undergraduate studies that imparts sufficient general knowledge, intellectual depth, and experience with quantitative reasoning and modeling techniques for students to be comfortable and proficient in incorporating this intellectual experience for a better understanding and more control of the natural and social worlds. Students can use this experience as an enrichment of their major and liberal arts education or as a stepping-stone to pursue, if desired, a more intensive specialization in any of Wesleyan's quantitative reasoning departments.

The pathway requires COMP211 Computer Science I; one of the following courses: COMP212 Computer Science II, COMP231 Computer Structure and Organization, COMP312 Algorithms and Complexity, or PHYS340 Computational Physics: Algorithms and Clusters; two courses from a list of approved computer science, economics, or science courses; a project and minithesis on a quantitative modeling theme (including a required seminar talk); and one semester's attendance at a specialized undergraduate seminar.

The IGS pathway introduces students to the emerging interdisciplinary field of bioinformatics and its relationships to molecular genomics, evolution, structural biology, and bioethics. The sequencing of genomes of humans and several other model organisms has led to new challenge in the life sciences—to successfully integrate large amounts of information to build and evaluate models of how organisms work. This is inherently an interdisciplinary problem that involves bridging conceptual frameworks and ways of thinking among the life sciences, information sciences, and philosophy. Faculty in complementing fields such as biology and computer science are working together to explore and develop new courses in this emerging field. As the disciplines advance, tomorrow's students in the life sciences and in information sciences will benefit from strong conceptual frameworks in informatics, biology, and bioethics, and in the links between them.

The pathway requires an introductory biology course, (such as BIOL/MB&B181), one introductory computer science course (typically, COMP112 or 211), one more advanced computer science course (such as COMP212 Computer Science II, COMP231 Computer Structure and  Operation, COMP312 Algorithms and Complexity, or COMP354 Principles of Databases), one upper-level bioinformatics course (from a list of approved courses), and one course in each of two of the following categories (from a list of approved courses): molecular genetics and cell biology, structural biology, evolutionary biology, and bioethics and philosophy of biology, applied quantitative reasoning.

Students who are interested in the CSM pathway should contact Reinhold Blumel (rblumel@wesleyan.edu), and students who are interested in the IGS pathway should contact either Michael Weir (mweir@wesleyan.edu) or Danny Krizanc (dkrizanc@wesleyan.edu).