About Workshop

Our Purpose

There is a recognized need for undergraduate students in chemistry and biology degree programs to have a basic competency in computing. Developing computational and programing competency in the future science technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce is a core component of the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI) and the NSF vision for Cyberinfrastructure for the 21st century. The NSCI aims to create a multi-agency strategy to usher in the next generation of high performance computing (HPC) in the United States. Towards this goal, there is a need to train the current cohorts of undergraduate in Biology and Chemistry undergraduate degree programs in computational training and programing.

Computational analyses and data enabled science are corner stones of STEM research. Successfully incorporating computational training in Chemistry and Biology undergraduate degree programs remains a matter of concern. While working to promote undergradute chemical and biological computing this workshop encourages students interested in learning about computing to enroll in an introductory computing course offered by Computer Science or Electrical Engineering departments. These courses are primarily designed for Computer Science or Engineering majors. As such they focus on the fundamentals of programing and the subject matter is rarely connected to the content matter covered in Chemical and Biological courses

Our Goal

This workshop is a part of larger efforts to stimulate student curiosity and interest into computing in Chemistry and Biology. The workshop will bring various practitioners from the fields of STEM education, chemistry, biology, computer sciences and industry under a single collaborative umbrella. To ensure applicability of these recommendations at various institutions, the workshop will include participants from universities at different levels of Carnegie classifications of institutes of higher education.

  1. Develop a common standard for computing topics to be taught in Biology and Chemistry degree programs that focus on critical elements of computing for students in these fields.
  2. Recommend a programming language or set of languages for these efforts. While Python has tremendous utilization and has benefited from a number of community developed training resources, new languages like JULIA offer the means to seamlessly expand into parallel computing.
  3. Provide frameworks for hands-on activities and research projects for these courses. Attendees will identify core-concepts that should be emphasized in hands-on projects and larger research projects
  4. Identify a platform or repository for the dissemination of teaching and learning resources to the academic community. This repository will be accessible by the community and will include data from the effectiveness of these approaches.
  5. Address the efficacy of using technology (interactive notebook servers and virtual reality) to engage the students and reduce the complexity of the learning process
  6. Identify practices and strategies to promote recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities in these courses.
  7. Identify means to train interested instructors who may not have a computational background. Participants will discuss the effectiveness of hands-on training experiences like that provided by software carpentry as well as online resources like those available via the extreme science and engineering discovery environment (XSEDE).
  8. Work as a community to collaborate on projects, offer feedback and pursue funding Opportunities.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Any opinions, findings, interpretations, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of its authors and do not represent the views of the National Science Foundation.