Introduction to Programming

Chemical Engineering 263

 Problem Solving with Programming for Engineers
 T/Th 9-11 am, 413 CB

Welcome to ChE263 which teaches computer skills useful to engineers and scientists. It covers MATLAB, Python, Mathcad, computer programs for doing all types of math, both numerically and symbolically; Excel, a spreadsheet program; and Visual Basic Application, a programming language to automate Microsoft Office applications. The course is required of Chemical Engineering majors. Students from other departments are welcome.


 John D. Hedengren
 Office: 801-422-2590, 350R CB
 Cell: 801-477-7341
 Contact: john.hedengren [at]

John Hedengren worked 5 years with ExxonMobil Chemical on Optimization solutions for the petrochemical industry. He conducts research in optimization methods, modeling systems, and applications in Chemical Engineering. The PRISM group is actively working on oil and gas drilling automation, reservoir engineering, process optimization, unmanned aerial vehicles, and systems biology.

Course Introduction

Teaching Assistant

 Ethan Janis
 Office hours M/W 3-4 PM, T/Th 8-9 AM


We will use a set of course notes and instructional videos that take the place of the book. Everyone will have access to these notes and videos through this web-site. There is also one required

  • VBA Textbook: "Introduction to VBA for Excel" 2nd Edition by Steve C. Chapra, ISBN-13: 978-0-13-239667-7, ISBN-10:0-13-239667-X.


Using computer software as a technique for solving engineering problems is the focus of this course. All homework assignments will require the use of a computer. Students may use their own computers or those located in CAEDM Labs, rooms CB425 and CTB415. To use the CAEDM computers, registration must first be completed using the terminal located outside room CB423.

Recitation Sessions

As needed through-out the semester. The Teaching Assistant will conduct the recitation sessions. Generally they will be held:

  • Before exams
  • To help work through difficult project issues
  • For additional class time

Catalog Description

ChE 263: Problem-Solving Techniques for Chemical Engineers (2 credit hours).





30% (15% Each)

Mid-Term Exam


Final Exam



Unannounced quizzes will be given on the assigned reading material for that day. The number of quizzes will increase as student preparation for classes decreases. Motto: BE PREPARED! Quizzes will not be rescheduled, and extra credit is not available. Quizzes count for a homework grade each. The quizzes are intended to: 1) provide an opportunity for you to practice responding to questions under time pressure, 2) provide encouragement for you to keep up with the course material, 3) encourage attendance.


There will be a mid-term and the final exam. These exams may be closed book and/or open book, in-class or in the testing center, as specified by the instructor prior to the exam. Exams will only be given after the scheduled date by special permission. Students with conflicts should arrange to take the exam prior to the scheduled date.


You will be required to complete two projects. I will provide suggestions or you can do something of your own interest or something that is integrated with a campus or off-campus research project.

Computer Tools

One of the most common questions that I receive from students who would like to take this class is, "How much programming experience is required to succeed in the class?"

To address this concern, we have prepared software tutorials that assume very little knowledge of programming. There are also many excellent resources on the internet that give tutorial introductions to programming. Those students who have no or little programming experience can review these step-by-step instructional videos to gain some of the required background.

This is a computing and programming course, but there are no prerequisites for prior experience with computing tools required to perform assignments, projects, and exams. Students who complete the course will gain experience in at least one programming language.


I will come prepared to each class, ready to help explain the material. I appreciate attentive students who respect my time and the time of other students.

Study Habits

Grade Expectations

A Read material in advance, be attentive and ask questions in lectures, understand and do all homework on time, study hard for exams well before the exam starts, work hard and perform well on exams and the class projects.

B Skim material in advance, attend lectures and try to stay awake, depend on TA for homework help, casually study for the exam by working the practice exam instead of learning concepts.

C Never read book, work on other homework during class, skip some homework assignments, start cramming for the exam the night before the exam.

D Skip class, don't turn in homework or turn it in late, start learning during the exam.

Disability Resources

If you suspect or are aware that you have a disability, you are strongly encouraged to contact the University Accessibility Center (UAC) located at 2170 WSC (801-422-2767) as soon as possible. A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Examples include vision or hearing impairments, physical disabilities, chronic illnesses, emotional disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety), learning disorders, and attention disorders (e.g., ADHD). When registering with the UAC, the disability will be evaluated and eligible students will receive assistance in obtaining reasonable University approved accommodations.