Programmable calculator-aided numerical methods for engineering undergraduates of Hong Kong

2018-03-27T10:00:22Z (GMT) by Raymond F.T. Chiu
Over the past twenty years, computing aids have developed from the simple hand rotating calculator to the complicated high speed computer. Very often the most powerful machine may not be the best equipment to use in the teaching of Numerical Methods. The student's criteria in selecting a computing aid are simplicity, accessibility and reliability. On the other hand, due to financial restrictions, an institution such as Hong Kong Polytechnic will be deeply concerned with the cost of the equipment used. It is then the teacher's duty to ensure a balance between cost and suitability of the computing aids used. In this research, the history of computing facilities in Hong Kong Polytechnic is outlined. Its cost and demand are investigated by means of a survey. An attempt is made to demonstrate that the programmable calculator is a cost effective tool in teaching Numerical Methods to Polytechnic students. Provided it is used in a less automatic manner and in conjunction with a well designed storage map, its defect in using low level language can be overcome. To use the programmable calculator in a less automatic way may allow or even induce the students to participate in the decision making part of the Numerical Algorithms. On the aspect of educational principle, this should be highly encouraged. Finally, it is pointed out in the thesis that the present day microcomputer systems could become cost effective tools, should their production costs be reduced in the years to come for general use in underdeveloped countries such as Hong Kong.