The course introduces students to programming in MATLAB, a software used by engineers and scientists for creating experiments, collecting data, analyzing the data, and simulating models. While learning how to use the software, students are also introduced to several broad concepts in science and technology, such as machine learning, statistical analysis, signal processing, electrical circuit models, biological models, and mechanical models. Participants learn to apply these concepts by writing code and building models in MATLAB.
In the process of building those models, students learn how to legitimately carry on scientific inquiry. They apply this learning to create their own experimental paradigms in MATLAB. They formulate scientific questions and design hypotheses to test those questions. To test the hypotheses, they create experiments and collect the necessary data by building graphical user interfaces (GUIs) with MATLAB. They further analyze data from the experiments using the MATLAB software and form conclusions regarding their scientific inquiry.
Students also visit science and engineering labs at Columbia University and are introduced to the process of journal publication.
Participants are required to bring their own laptops, either Windows or Mac-based, for this course. Laptops should have at least 4Gb of RAM memory. Instructions on how to download and set up the software are emailed to students prior to the first class.
Prachi Patel is a Ph.D. student in Columbia's Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. She holds a master’s of science degree in electrical engineering from Columbia University and a bachelor’s in technology from Nirma University in India. Her scientific research consists of investigating how speech and music are encoded in the human brain. She looks at signals recorded from the brain to infer the encoding of this information and the workings of brain circuitry. Prachi’s scientific findings are published in international science journals such as Cell Reports and eLife, and she has presented her work at several international conferences including SfN, APAN, and ARO. She is also a review editor for Frontiers for Young Minds, an open access scientific journal that brings the latest research in real time to school children.