Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Research PhD courses

C++ for Biologists


Dr. Sander van Doorn (Theoretical Research in Evolutionary Life Sciences, UoG)
Dr. Joke Bakker (Theoretical Research in Evolutionary Life Sciences, UoG)

Aim of the course

To learn to develop a computer program in the programming language C++ and to acquire a basic knowledge of computer simulation techniques and object-oriented programming.

Contents & Structure

This course, which is specifically designed for biology students, teaches the participants how to write computer programs in the programming language C++ (using the Visual Studio 2015 developing environment). The course covers the following topics:

  • Programming basics (data types, operators and program flow)
  • Functions, pointers and templates
  • Input/output handling and debugging
  • Elementary object-oriented programming

Throughout, the programming techniques are applied to biological research questions. The goal is to learn to translate a research question into expressions that can be implemented in a computer program. Much emphasis will be on simulation techniques. Topics covered include: data input, recurrent functions, implementation of differential equations, individual-based simulations, the use of random numbers, generation of output including statistics like mean and standard deviation.
In the last part of the course each participant applies the acquired knowledge in an individual research project.

The course provides students with a starter’s programming background, allowing further development by means of individual self-study. The course is obligatory for virtually all students who want to do a master’s or PhD project in theoretical biology and who have not yet acquired programming skills.

General Information
Required knowledge & preparation Elementary computer and Windows literacy are required. It is not advisable to plan other activities next to this full-time course.
Course material The course manual (ca. € 20,00) is obligatory and can be obtained from the Repro Service at the Bernoulliborg, Zernike Campus at the onset of the course.
Course credits 5(10) ECTS
Location Zernike Campus, Groningen
Duration & date This course comprises six intensive consecutive weeks starting 12 November 2018. In the first 3 weeks (5 ECTS) a typical course day consists of a lecture followed by a computer practical; the final day of the week is spent on a mandatory assignment. The last 3 weeks (5 ECTS) are spent on developing a sophisticated research-related simulation program that will be presented to the group of participants in the final week of the course. The course will run until 21 December.
Costs There is no course fee for Master students. A course fee of € 275,- will be charged to all students other than Masters. The manual costs around € 20,00.
Participants The number of participants is limited.
Information For further information on this course, please contact Joke Bakker (TRÊS, Linnaeusborg 5173.0502, Phone: 38780).
Registration Master level students should register through the usual route. PhD level students may fill out this registration form. Registration for this course is open.
Last modified:25 October 2018 2.11 p.m.