Cluster 5
Computers in Biophysics & Robotics


Core Course (4 Weeks Each)


Random Walks From Physics to Biology

We know that everything, living or non-living, is made out of molecules. Molecules are random walkers that keep bumping into each other and changing their trajectory, shape and even their chemical identity. How, then, does a collection of such random walkers assemble into incredibly organized and precise molecular machines that make a living system function? In this course we will learn how to describe random walkers using probability theory and primarily computer simulations. Students will learn and use subsets of C and python programming languages to simulate the behavior of biological molecules inside a living cell.


Computer Science - Intro to Robotics

This course is an informal introduction to computer science using Lego Mindstorm™ robots. The course teaches the basics of a first semester college computer science course, using NXC, a variant of the C programming language, developed for the Lego robots by Dave Baum. Standard programming concepts covered include: variables, loops, arithmetic functions, function calls, data/file manipulation, and random number generation. In addition, mechanical aspects of the robot such as building bumpers and feelers, playing sounds, locomotion, gears, pulleys, and communication will be covered. Since programs for the robot are written on a personal computer (and then downloaded to the robot via USB), students will also learn the basics of the Unix operating system (either Linux or OS X) running on the personal computers. Each student in the course will be assigned their own robot for the duration of the course. This course will focus on the basics of designing, building, and programming the robots.