Spurred on by Michael Tobis’s thoughts about building a readable/understandable climate model in Python, I dug up an old bookmark to a course offered in UMinn’s geology department on Designing your own “Earth System” Model. Really neat idea for a course. Now, with a bit of tweaking, I could set up a similar course here, but with a twist – we recruit a mix of CS and Physics students onto the course, and put them together in cross-disciplinary teams, each team building an earth system model of some kind (tapping into the domain knowledge of the physicists), using current CS and software engineering tools and techniques. And to keep Michael happy, they code it all in Python. Marks awarded based on understandability of the code.
In the longer term, we keep the models produced from each instance of the course, and get the next cohort of students to develop them further – the aim is to build them up to be full scale earth system models.
Update: Michael has posted some more reflections on this.