Table of Contents
- 9:00-10:20 Tu-F, GHC 4211 (Lecture)
- 9:00-10:20 M, GHC 4211 (Recitation)
- 4:30-5:50 M-F GHC 5205 (Cluster Hours)
A course in fundamental computing principles for students with no computing
background who are not required to take additional courses in computer
science. Programming constructs: sequencing, selection, iteration, and
recursion. Data organization: arrays and lists. Use of abstraction in
computing: data representation, computer organization, computer networks,
functional decomposition, and application programming interfaces. Use of
computational principles in problem-solving: divide
and conquer, randomness, and concurrency. Classification of computational
problems based on complexity, non-computable functions, and using heuristics
to find reasonable solutions to complex problems. Social, ethical and legal
issues associated with the development of new computational artifacts will
also be discussed.
-- From the Offical Course Description
Note:: Although a grade of "D" receives credit, a grade of "C or
better" is required for this course to serve as a prerequisite for any
course within the School of Computer Science.
None. In fact, any prior knowledge or experience with programming
is a contraindication. This course is designed as a "first exposure" course.
None required. If you'd like one anyone, drop by my office for some
This course website, http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/course/15-112-m13,
will contain a tremendous collection of resources, as they become available.
This will include such items as lecture support materials, video of lecture,
practice exams, lab information, &c.
Office hours are times that I do my best to reserve exclusively for
"drop in - no appointment" meetings with students, but I am often available
at times other than office hours.
Please don't hesitate to call or drop by at other times, or to request
an appointment. Office hours are convenient -- if they are convenient for
you. If not, please, please, please email or call for an appointment, or
just take your chances and drop by -- if I'm not teaching, I'm likely here.
Please remember -- I'm here to help. I appreciate the opportunity to
serve you. Do give me the chance.
My office phone rolls to my cellphone 24x7. Please feel free to call anytime.
If it is inconvenient to answer, such as during meetings or while sleeping,
I turn it off. So, have no fear -- call away.
- Daniel Chen
- TJ O'Connor
- Aaron Reyes
- Office Hours: Sunday - Fridays, 4:30 - 6:30pm, GHC 5208
Attendance is expected at all classes. You are responsible
for everything conveyed during class, even if you are absent. It is suggested
that you make friends with your classmates and aestablish a study group
-- these will provide vehicles by which you can discovery the content of
any lectures you might miss. In the event that you miss class, you should
contact one of these individuals promptly to ask for help.
The course staff is not responsible to help you with material or procedural
announcements from which you opted out by electively missing class.
I can't stress enough that the course staff, the instructor
and CAs, are dedicated to providing you the highest possible levels of
support: inside of the classroom and outside. Please, if you need help,
Important: It is strongly suggested that you email the entire
staff with questions or concerns. This will assure you of the fastest
possible answers. This can be done by sending email to
Assignments and Grading
Exams: 2 x 20% each
These are traditional, written, "closed book, closed notes, closed
everything" style exam. They incorporate programming questions, theory
questions, problem solving, the drawing of figures, &c.
Final Exam: 25%
Similar to the mid-term exam, but less focused and more capstone in
Homework, Class/Recitation work, &c: 25%
The bulk of the assignments in this category will likely consist
of individual programming-intensive laboratory assignments. But, there
may also be some non-programming homework, collaborative work, and other
material as necessary to adapt to the needs of the class.
Term Project 10%
You'll like this. It is a large, somewhat self-defined project where
you'll get to show off your creativity, problem solving ability, and
ability to express yourself in code -- it will be an impressive show.
We try to be very, very careful about scoring your work and
maintaining your grades. But, we are human and will make mistakes. If you
have any questions about grading, please see any member of the course staff.
If possible, s/he will help you "on the spot". But, if s/he want to
discuss the issue with other members of the staff, which does occur in
many cases, he or she might make a copy of your work and/or ask you to
write down or email your concerns. Please don't be alarmed -- this is just
to try to ensure correctness and consistency among staffers, as well as
prevent miscommunication. If you are asked to provide a copy of the work
or feedback in question, or to provide your concerns in writing or email,
you are required to do this before your concern can be addressed.
Please keep copies of all of your graded work, electronic submissions,
and electronic feedback, until you receive your final course grade and
are satisifed that it is correct. Without the original work and the grading
information, it is more difficult and time consuming to correct errors.
In general, grading concerns should be addressed within one (1) weeks.
In the special case of the final exam, they should be addressed with one
(1) year. The course staff, at its discretion, may refuse to reconsider
grades outside of this time period.
Should concerns arise outside of these time periods, but during the
semester, please do contact any member of the course staff -- we want to
be reasonable and will do our best, within our discretion, to help. Should
concerns occur after the end of the semester, please contact the instructor.
Or, in the unlikley event that he is no longer at the University, on leave,
or otherwise inaccessible, contact an administrator in the Computer Science
Students do have the right to appeal final course grades. This can be
done informally, beginning with the instructor, and then to the student's
academic dean and/or the academic dean in the home department. It can also
be done formally using the policy outline in the Academic Regulations.
These groups generally work best if there are between three and five people
involved, but sometimes pairs or slightly larger groups can work well.
Typically the most effective study groups meet once per week for a few
hours, or a couple of times each week for a couple of hours each meeting.
For study groups to be effective, each member must work indivudally with
the material in-between meetings such that s/he has something to contribute
as well as questions to drive the discussion.
Unless otherwise specified, all assignments should be completed individually.
In other words, it is okay to collaborate in studying the course material,
but the "writing on the page" or the "code in the lab", as examples, should
be your own "thought product".
If portions of your individual assignments have been significantly influenced
by someone else, you should prominently give them credit for their contribution.
Proper attribution is critically important -- and is an absolute defense
against charges of "Academic Dishonesty"
Failure to provide proper recognition for the contributions of others
towards any graded work may be, at the discretion fo course staff, considered
Academic Dishonesty under the applicable University, School, Department,
and/or Intro Group policies.
The Academic Regulations are the only authoritative source for information
regarding the University police on Academic Dishonesty, and related procedural
matters. But, the following is an informal summary:
An instructor can charge a student with academic dishonesty and impose
a penalty within the course, including an "R" grade.
The instructor informs the University of the charge, where it is recorded.
If it is a first-offense, the University takes no further action. If it
is not, a University committee is convened. For other than first offenses,
the Committee, not the instructor determines the penalty, which can include
academic actions such as expulsion or suspension, as well as less-severe
actions. The student may appear at this hearing, and the instructor might
also ask to appear or be asked to appear.
Even on a first offense, the instructor can ask the University to convene
a Committee as discussed above. This might be done, for example, in the
case of a particularly flagrant case, or under atypical cicumstances.
The student has the right to appeal an instructors finding of academic
dishonesty. Such an appeal is heard by the same Committee as discussed
above. In the event that both the student and faculty member request a
Committee, the same Committee will hear both.
University procedure provides for the appeal of decisions by the Committee.
In the event that the instructor charges a student with Academic Dishonesty,
it is suggested that the student consider the totality of the circumstances
calmly and rationally and seek advice from the instructor -- as well as
third parties, such as the student's advisor, academic dean, or a dean
of student affairs. It is may not be in the student's best interest to
take a rash action, such as attempting to drop the course.
Students who are charge with Academic Dishonesty should be aware that there
will be no prejudice against them in the course, beyond the penalty directly
imposed, as a result of the charge, or of any appeal.
You have four (4) "Late Days" for use on assignments this semester.
You can use one day on each of five assignments, two days on one
assignment abd three on the next, &c. There are no half days -- an
assignment 1 second late requires the use of a full late day. At most
two late days can be used on any one assignment. Late days may not be
available during assigments due during the last week of the semester,
especially toward the end of the week -- inquire of the course staff
in advance of using late days during the last week.
These late days are not "procrastination days". They are instead designed
much like "personal days" at work to handle the little things that come
up during the semester: short illnesses, injuries, visiting family or friends,
a burst of work in other classes, doctors vists, &c.
The use of these days is completely at your discretion -- but, once
they are gone, they are gone. That's it. The course staff cannot give you
more. Late work is not accepted, other than through the use of "Late Days".
There is, of course, the possibility that exceptions to this policy
will arise. We certainly hope that nothing incapactiating will happen to
any of you. But, in the event that there is some major life event including
major medical issues, emotional problems, family problems, &c, the
course staff stands ready to work with you, as appropriate.
But, because these events are major events that likely will affect more
than one class, we refer these circumstances to other University officials,
typically academic deans, deans of student affairs, and/or assigned academic
In the event that you need help of this kind, please see a member of
the course staff, and advisor dean, or other appropriate University offical.
If you contact us, we'll likely begin by contacting your advisor or dean.
But, regardless who you contact first, we'll work together with your academic
unit and/or student affairs, and (most importanbtly) you, to do the Right
Thing. We are, in fact, here to help.
Please also keep in mind that assignments only count as submitted, if
submitted as directed. For example, we don't accept assignments via email
or on floppy disk, unless we specifically authorize it. Should you fail
to submit an assignment as directed, you will need to use late days to
No Email Attachments
Unless otherwise directed by a member of the course staff,
do not send files as attachments via email. For technical reasons, this
mode of file transmission is extremely inefficient. Instead, please create
a directory within your AFS space, place the file or files into that
directory, and give gkesden:staff-110 at least "rl" access. If this doesn't
make sense to you -- relax. Just send email to us and ask for instructions
for sending us the file(s).
Electronically Mediated Communication -- "A.M. Memorial Policy"
You are not permitted to engage in any electronically mediated communication during class -- the
penalty, even for a first offense, is an "R" in the course. No TXTing. No IMing. No email. No
surfing the Web. No net games. No talking on your cell phone. You get the idea: If something is
being communicated and anything even vaguely electronic is involved, you flunk. If you are not
comfortable with this -- find a different section.
This might seem extreme to you, but it necessary. The ubiquity and pervasiveness of these
technologies is threatening the classroom dynamic. Unless it is controlled, it will become
cultural -- and the loss to education permanent and tremendous.
Since it is somewhat difficult to prove allegations of this kind from the front of the classroom,
the penalty is severe to act as a deterrent. Other instructors, student assistants, staff members,
and/or other trusted individuals may be asked to monitor the classroom from various points of
observation to aid in the enforcement of this policy and still photographic evidence may be u
acquired and used to document violations.
High-fidelity recordings of class, including any audio and/or video recordings, regardless of the
media or format, and regardless of the intended or actual use, are not permitted without prior
written permission of the instructor. The class will be notified in advance should any such
recording be approved. The penalty for violating this policy is an “R” in the course. If you are
not comfortable with this, drop the course now. Studnets have no right to record classes under any
This policy is intended to protect the privacy of the students. No student should run the risk of
potential employers finding a naïve question or incorrect answer on the Web. The classroom is a
learning environment, not an exhibition. Rather than attempt to control the uncontrollable or
distinguish between neutral and detrimental uses, all recording is prohibited. Experience has shown
that, excluding special cases such as use by students with disabilities or distance learners,
undergraduate students do not improve their performance through the use of high fidelity recordings.