Syllabus and general information for MCS-178: Introduction to Computer
Science II (Fall 2001)
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) 10:30-11:20 Tuesdays,
1:30-2:20 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
You may send me electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org 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).
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 several Java books 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.
Note that all Monday/Wednesday/Friday sessions will be at 2:30, even
when in the lab, and all Tuesday/Thursday sessions will be at 8:00,
even when in class.
will be held in the OHS 326 lab, using the Linux computers. Karl
Knight will be the lab instructor.
The two intra-term exams will be conducted during the evening from
7:00-8:30pm on October 9 and November 6, in OHS 103 and OHS 321, respectively. 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.
The syllabus shows due dates for six homework assignments; each will
typically consist of four or five problems. You must turn in all the
problems in an assignment by that assignment's due date, but may turn
in individual problems earlier if you wish. I will mark each problem
as "mastered" or "not yet mastered," and return them to you as rapidly
as I can. For those not yet mastered, I may write some brief
indication of what area needs work, but you should really take these
as an invitation to come talk. You may turn in a revised version of
each problem however many times it takes to reach the "mastered"
point, even after the original due date. The only restrictions are
- You must have submitted an initial attempt by the original due
- No revision will be accepted for homeworks 1 and 2 after October
9th, for homeworks 3 and 4 after November 6th, or for homeworks 5 and
6 after December 12th. These cutoff dates are intentionally
synchronized with the tests; the point of the homeworks is to prepare
you for the tests.
Note that if you turn in each homework problem as soon as you can do
it, rather than saving them for the assignment due dates, you will
have more opportunity for revision and resubmission before the cutoff
dates listed above. Particularly for the last homeworks before each
cutoff date (and test), I can't guarantee you'll have time for a
revision cycle otherwise.
I may also announce an earlier cutoff date for any individual problem
I consider important for us to discuss in class.
The homework portion of your course grade will simply be determined by
the fraction of the homework problems you eventually mastered.
Attendance is expected 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 lab 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.
Late lab assignments
All 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 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)
- 17% homework (see above)
- 48% exams (3 @ 16% each)
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, see "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. He will also join us in class September 22nd
for a workshop on writing lab reports.
- 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
|9/6||10.3||Micro-Scheme (class instead of lab, OHS
|9/7||More on Micro-Scheme||
|9/10||10.4||Global definitions: Mini-Scheme||
|9/11||Lab 1: Extending evaluators||
|9/12||10.5||Adding explanatory output||
|9/13||Lab 1 (continued)||
|9/14||More on explanatory output||
|9/17||11.1-11.2||The SLIM architecture||HW 1
|9/18||Lab 1 (continued)||
|9/19||11.3||SLIM's instruction set||
|9/20||Lab 1 (concludes)||
|9/21||Lab report writing workshop||
|9/24||11.4||Iteration in assembly language||Lab 1
|9/25||Lab 2: Assembly language programming||
|9/26||11.5||Recursion in assembly language||
|9/27||Lab 2 (continued)||
|9/28||More on assembly programming||
|10/1||11.6||Memory in Scheme: vectors||
|10/4||Lab 2 (concludes)||
|10/5||Review; catch-up||HW 2
|10/8||12.1-12.2||Revisiting tree recursion||Lab 2
|10/9||Test 1, 7:00-8:30pm, OHS 103; no lab||
|10/11||Lab 3: Formatting paragraphs||
|10/15||12.5||Comparing memoization and dynamic programming||
|10/16||Lab 3 (continued)||
|10/17||More on memoization and dynamic programming||HW 3
|10/18||Lab 3 (concludes)||
|10/23||13.1-13.2||Arithmetic expressions revisited
(class, not lab; unusual room: OHS 320)||Lab 3
|10/24||13.3||RA-stacks and rep. invariants||
|10/25||Lab 4: Robots||
|10/26||More on RA-stacks and rep. invariants||
|10/30||Lab 4 (continued)||
|10/31||13.5||Red-black trees||HW 4
|11/1||Lab 4 (concludes)||
|11/5||Review; catch-up||Lab 4
Dictionaries; Test 2, 7:00-8:30pm, OHS 321||
|11/8||Lab 5 (continued)||
|11/9||More on object-oriented programming||
|11/12||14.3||Extensions/variations on compu-duds||
|11/13||Lab 5 (concludes)||
|11/14||14.5||The Land of Gack||Lab 5
|11/15||Lab 6: Adventures in the Imaginary Land of Gack||
|11/16||14.4-p. 529||Implementing object-oriented programming||
|11/19||14.4||More on implementation of o-o programming||HW 5
|11/20||Lab 6 (continued)||
|11/21||Lab 6 (continued) (lab instead of class)||
|11/27||Lab 6 (concludes)||
|11/28||More on Java||Lab 6
|11/29||Lab 7: Java and Concurrency||
|11/30||15.3||Event-driven GUI programming in Java||
|12/3||More on event-driven GUI programming||
|12/4||Lab 7 (continued)
|12/6||Lab 7 (continued)
|12/7||More on concurrency||
|12/10||Lab 7 (continued) (lab instead of class)||HW 6
|12/11||Lab 7 (concludes)
|12/12||Review and evaluation||Lab 7
|12/15||Final, 1-3pm, OHS 321||
Course web site: http://www.gustavus.edu/~mc28/
Instructor: Max Hailperin <email@example.com>
Lab instructor: Karl Knight <firstname.lastname@example.org>