Unit of Computational Science (UCS)

UCS was instituted to provide solutions to otherwise insoluble problems in physics, engineering, and biology.

At its core, UCS uses mathematical modelling to describe real-life systems and observations. These models draw on known physical laws, engineering structural theory, or evolving biological systems, and will generally utilize the mathematical constructs of algebra, geometry and calculus to describe the underlying complexity.

While such models may not be amenable to simple solutions or analysis, a suitable computer program they can often be broken down into simpler steps and solved through iteration. Such methods are particularly valuable when they can be combined with graphical or animated output to provide visual feedback to follow the evolution of a solution. This allows an additional insight into the underlying science, and may even facilitate a new and deeper understanding into the reality of nature.

Fields in which UCS has made a notable contribution include:

  • Ray tracing in expanding media of varying density
  • Real-time algorithms to detect and follow movement in robotic visualization
  • Programmable damping for robotic arms to demonstrate over, under, and critical damping
  • Evolutionary models for swarms of mating insects
  • Collision avoidance models and flocking for an assemblage of birds
  • Evolution of the active site of an enzyme to fit its substrate
  • Many-body gravitational models for evolution of binary and triple stars
  • Evolution and stability in the orbitals of galactic discs
  • Stability and characteristics of globular clusters

The methods of computational science often allow a new understanding of the underlying science, as parameters can be introduced or varied at will and without requiring extensive reworking of physical or biological systems.