Syllabus and general information for MCS-178: Introduction to Computer
Science II (Fall 2000)
In MCS-178 we continue exploring the perspectives and methods of computer
science, particularly abstraction. We'll first confront language
issues by investigating how one might write and modify a Scheme system
in Scheme, a so-called meta-circular evaluator. We'll next consider
the notion of computations with changing state by looking "under the
hood" at computers. We'll extend this notion of state into other
areas, such as the use of state to construct more efficient
computational processes than otherwise, and the use of object-based
and object-oriented programming to model systems of objects with
changing state. Finally, at the end of the semester we'll see how
object-oriented programming plays out in a second programming language
(Java) and take a brief look at its use in writing event-driven and
concurrent programs (those that behave in response to user actions and
those that do more than one thing at a time).
I will be available in my office (OHS 303) 2:30-3:20 Tuesdays,
10:30-11:20 Wednesdays, 9:00-9:50 Thursdays, 10:30-11:20 Fridays, and by
appointment. Or try your luck: just stop by and see whether my door
is open. However, I will have no office hours the week of September
You may send me electronic mail at email@example.com or call me at
extension 7466. I'll try to put any updates to my office
hours on my web page, so check
there if in doubt.
World Wide Web
All course materials will be available through my World Wide Web page.
The URL for this course is http://www.gustavus.edu/~mc28/.
After this syllabus I will give hardcopy handouts only to those
students who want them.
The normal prerequisite is MCS-177 (or MC27), but Karl Knight's FT01 from Fall of
1995, 1996, or 1997 together with his J-term course from 1996 or 1998 or Mike
Hvidsten's J-term course from 1997 is also acceptable.
Text and readings
The primary text for the course will be Concrete
Abstractions: An Introduction to Computer Science by Max Hailperin,
Barbara Kaiser, and Karl Knight. We will cover chapters 10-15.
There's also an on-line Java Tutorial at
and copies of Arnold and Gosling's The Java Programming
Language book and Cornell and Horstmann's Core Java book in
the MCS Lab monitors' room, any of which you are welcome to use as a
supplement to the material on Java in our book.
Classes will normally be on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and labs
will normally be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, there are a
few exceptions, which are clearly marked on the class schedule. Labs
will be held in the OHS 326 lab, using the Linux computers. Jeff
Engelhardt will be the lab instructor.
The two intra-term exams will be conducted in OHS 317 during the evening from
7:00-8:30pm on October 10 and November 7. Please let me know as soon
as possible if you won't be able to take the tests at those
times. The final exam will be as scheduled by the registrar.
Attendance is mandatory for all lab days. (If you turn in a lab
report early, you are excused from the remaining days devoted to that
lab.) I will excuse up to three absences per student, for any reason.
Use yours wisely. If you exceed this allowance, I may reduce your
course grade by one letter grade.
With regard to the class days, you are responsible for all course
material, whether or not you are present when it was covered or
Students are encouraged to discuss the course, including issues raised
by the assignments. However, the solutions to assignments
should be individual original work unless otherwise specified. If an
assignment makes you realize you don't understand the material, ask a
fellow student a question designed to improve your understanding,
not one designed to get the assignment done. To do otherwise is to
cheat yourself out of understanding, as well as to be intolerably
Any substantive contribution to your solution by another person or
taken from a publication should be properly acknowledged in writing.
Failure to do so is plagiarism and will necessitate disciplinary
The same standards regarding plagiarism apply to team projects as to
the work of individuals, except that the author is now the entire team
rather than an individual. Anything taken from a source outside the
team should be be properly cited.
One additional issue that arises from the team authorship of
project reports is that all team members must stand behind all reports
bearing their names. All team members have quality assurance
responsibility for the entire project. If there is irreconcilable
disagreement within the team it is necessary to indicate as much in
the reports; this can be in the form of a "minority opinion" or
"dissenting opinion" section where appropriate.
All homework and lab assignments are due at the beginning of class on
the day indicated. Late assignments will be penalized by one "grade
notch" (such as A to A- or A- to B+) for each weekday late or fraction
thereof. However, no late assignments will be accepted after I've
handed graded assignments back or discussed the assignment's solutions
If you are too sick to complete an assignment on time, you
will not be penalized. Simply write "late due to illness" at the
top of the assignment, sign your name and hand it in. Other circumstances
will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Please point out any arithmetic or clerical error I make in grading,
and I will gladly fix it. You may also request reconsideration if I
have been especially unjust.
I will provide you with a grade on each homework and lab
assignment and on each test, in addition to the mid-term and final
grades, so that you may keep track of your performance. As a
guideline, the components will contribute in the following proportion
to the final grade:
However, I reserve the right to subjectively adjust your final grade.
Please see me if you have any question how you stand. Class
participation is not graded; however, it allows you to find and repair
the gaps in your understanding before doing the homework or exam, and
thus can dramatically improve your grade.
- 35% lab assignments (7 @ 5% each)
- 15% homework (6 @ 2.5% each)
- 50% exams (15% each for intra-terms; 20% for final)
All homework and lab reports should be readily readable, and should not
presuppose that I already know what you are trying to say. In particular:
For a more detailed set of guidelines, David Wolfe prepared the document "Suggestions for Clear Lab Reports in Computer Science Courses". I recommend that you
look at this document and, if you have questions about lab write-ups,
ask your lab instructor.
- Use full English sentences where appropriate (namely almost everywhere,
including in mathematical proofs or derivations).
- Word-process or type your homework if you can. In any case, make sure it
- Use diagrams, tables, programs, and calculations as supporting components
of English writing, not in isolation. Remember that your goal is to
communicate clearly, and that the appearance of these technical items plays
a role in this communication process.
- Be sure your assignments are always stapled together and that your name is
always on them.
Please contact me immediately if you have a learning or physical
disability requiring accommodation.
When a reading is indicated as going to a particular page number, it
means up to the heading on that page. The same section number on the
next class day then indicates to finish the section.
This is my best guess as to the rate at which we will cover material.
However, don't be shocked if I have to pass out one or more revised
|9/7||10.3||Micro-Scheme (class instead of lab)||
|9/8||More on Micro-Scheme||
|9/11||10.4||Global definitions: Mini-Scheme||
|9/12||Lab 1: Extending evaluators||
|9/13||10.5||Adding explanatory output||
|9/14||Lab 1 (continued)||
|9/15||More on explanatory output||
|9/18||11.1-11.2||The SLIM architecture||HW 1
|9/19||Lab 1 (continued)||
|9/20||11.3||SLIM's instruction set||
|9/21||Lab 1 (concludes)||
|9/25||11.4||Iteration in assembly language||Lab 1
|9/26||Lab 2: Assembly language programming||
|9/27||11.5||Recursion in assembly language||
|9/28||Lab 2 (continued)||
|9/29||More on assembly programming||
|10/2||11.6||Memory in Scheme: vectors||
|10/5||Lab 2 (concludes)||
|10/6||Review; catch-up||HW 2
|10/9||12.1-12.2||Revisiting tree recursion||Lab 2
|10/10||Test 1, OHS 317, 7:00-8:30pm; no lab||
|10/12||Lab 3: Formatting paragraphs||
|10/16||12.5||Comparing memoization and dynamic programming||
|10/17||Lab 3 (continued)||
|10/18||More on memoization and dynamic programming||HW 3
|10/19||Lab 3 (concludes)||
|10/24||13.1-13.2||Arithmetic expressions revisited
(class instad of lab)||Lab 3
|10/25||13.3||RA-stacks and rep. invariants||
|10/26||Lab 4: Robots||
|10/27||More on RA-stacks and rep. invariants||
|10/31||Lab 4 (continued)||
|11/1||13.5||Red-black trees||HW 4
|11/2||Lab 4 (concludes)||
|11/6||Review; catch-up||Lab 4
Dictionaries; Test 2, OHS 317, 7:00-8:30pm||
|11/9||Lab 5 (continued)||
|11/10||More on object-oriented programming||
|11/13||14.3||Extensions/variations on compu-duds||
|11/14||Lab 5 (concludes)||
|11/15||14.5||The Land of Gack||Lab 5
|11/16||Lab 6: Adventures in the Imaginary Land of Gack||
|11/17||14.4-p. 529||Implementing object-oriented programming||
|11/20||14.4||More on implementation of o-o programming||HW 5
|11/21||Lab 6 (continued)||
|11/22||Lab 6 (continued) (lab instead of class)||
|11/28||Lab 6 (concludes)||
|11/29||More on Java||Lab 6
|11/30||Lab 7: Java and Concurrency||
|12/1||15.3||Event-driven GUI programming in Java||
|12/4||More on event-driven GUI programming||
|12/5||Lab 7 (continued)
|12/7||Lab 7 (continued)
|12/8||More on concurrency||
|12/12||Lab 7 (concludes)
|12/13||Review and evaluation||Lab 7
Course web site: http://www.gustavus.edu/~mc28/
Instructor: Max Hailperin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Lab instructor: Jeff Engelhardt <email@example.com>