• Class Number 6887
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Christoph Federrath
    • AsPr Christoph Federrath
    • Dr Yuan-Sen Ting
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

This course provides students with the skills necessary to write computer programs for the construction of models of astronomical processes, for the analysis of data and for multi-dimensional simulations. The skills acquired in this course are essential for every research area in astronomy and astrophysics.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Be familiar with some of the most important algorithms for common numerical tasks such as numerical integration, interpolation, Fourier analysis and statistics.
  2. Write programs in C and/or Python in order to solve specific numerical problems typical of those arising in Astronomy and to plot the results.
  3. Develop proficiency in using modern parallel computers for solving large computational problems.
  4. Be able to establish an efficient development environment involving code, makefiles and the use of subroutine libraries.

Research-Led Teaching

This course includes the use of research-based data from simulations and observations.

Required Resources

For this course you will need access to a computer with Linux-based shell (e.g., Bash) and program capabilities. The first few sessions and assignment will be about Bash. You will also need access to python 3. Please read the 'Prerequisites' below, for more information and/or contact your IT department for help with software and access. Moreover, you will need a computer account at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics; see computer account form below. This is necessary for access to computer servers at RSAA, as some of the course involves remote and parallel computing. Please contact RSAA IT for account creation.


RSAA computer account application form

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

The exact due date of assignments will be published during the course, at least two weeks before the due date. Marked assignments will be returned 2 weeks after the due date.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction, topics, timetable, student reps, assignments plan, setting up computers, Bash, shell scripting
2 Bash, shell scripting, remote computing (ssh, scp, rsync, ssh tunnelling)
3 Plotting scientific data, making movies, plot digitizer, gnuplot, ffmpeg, version control 1st assignment due
4 Basic data analysis: python (and IDL) startup packages, functions, subroutines, decorators, etc.
5 Basic data analysis in python: basic statistics, binning, Monte-Carlo error propagation, beam convolution, Fourier analysis 2nd assignment due
6 Parallel computing: C/C++, OpenMP, MPI, mpi4py in python
7 Linear Regression and Bayesian Inference
8 Logistic Regression and Classification 3rd assignment due
9 Dimension reduction and PCA
10 Gaussian Mixture Models and Expectation Maximisation
11 Gaussian Processes 
12 Sampling and Markov Chain Monte Carlo exam assignment due

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Assignment 1 20 % 1,2,3,4
Assignment 2 20 % 1,2,3,4
Assignment 3 20 % 1,2,3,4
Assignment 4 (exam assignment) 40 % 1,2,3,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Participation is strongly encouraged, but not assessed.


The 4th assignment serves as the exam and counts double compared to the first 3 assignments.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Assignment 1

For further details please consult the course Wattle site.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Assignment 2

For further details please consult the course Wattle site.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Assignment 3

For further details please consult the course Wattle site.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 40 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Assignment 4 (exam assignment)

For further details please consult the course Wattle site.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Feedback on assignments is returned in class and/or by email.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Resubmission of assignments is not permitted.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
AsPr Christoph Federrath

Research Interests


AsPr Christoph Federrath

Tuesday 14:30 15:00
Thursday 14:30 15:00
By Appointment
AsPr Christoph Federrath

Research Interests

AsPr Christoph Federrath

Tuesday 14:30 15:00
Thursday 14:30 15:00
By Appointment
Dr Yuan-Sen Ting

Research Interests


Dr Yuan-Sen Ting


Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions