How Computers Help Us Essay

University of Cologne

Computer simulations or: Can the computer help us to understand how a traffic jam occurs?

Nobody likes to be stuck in traffic! Still, there are more and more of them on our streets. They can have various causes, e.g. construction sites or accidents. But sometimes they arise "out of nowhere". How does that happen?

In the course we want to investigate this question more closely with the help of computer simulations! We first get to know the famous Nagel-Schreckenberg model. It sounds complicated, but it isn't. With the help of a computer program that we provide, we can use this model to research the formation of traffic jams. You will then be given small research tasks in which you investigate the influence of different things (for example the width of the street) on the formation of traffic jams. This is how you learn to work like real theoretical physicists.

The course consists of three units:
1. Introduction to the topic + presentation of the Nagel-Schreckenberg model
2. Presentation of the computer simulation
3. Processing of the research projects and presentation of the results


Zoom dates:

(1) Mon., March 15th, 4.00 p.m.-5.30 p.m.

(2) Mon., March 22nd, 4:00 pm-5:30pm

(3) Mon., March 29th, 4 p.m.-5.30 p.m.

Target group:

5th and 6th grade students

Technical requirements:

  • Internet access

  • Computer, laptop or tablet with loudspeaker plus microphone or headset


You can get stamps for your study book for participating in this project.

You put your stamp in your study book. If you have collected 10 stamps or more, you can contact us and send us your study book because you will then also have a Children's UniversityGet a diploma and another chance to get a lottery ticket from us.

If you don't already have a Study book contact us by email and write us your address. We will then send it to you. You then write your name on the front and the title of the KinderUni course or an abbreviation of the title in the blank lines on the inside. Then stick your stamp next to the title.

Our address:

Cologne Children's University
University of Cologne
50923 Cologne