Syllabus and general information for MCS-178: Introduction to Computer
Science II (Spring 2003)
In MCS-178 we continue exploring the perspectives and methods of
computer science, particularly abstraction. We'll first 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. Along the way, we'll also confront language issues, by
investigating how one might write and modify a Scheme system in Scheme
(a so-called meta-circular evaluator) and by introducing a second
programming language, Java. At the end of the semester we'll take a
brief look at Java's 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 Mondays,
Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, as well as 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 be on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; except in the
last week of the semester, labs
will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Note that all Monday/Wednesday/Friday sessions will be at 1:30, even
when (at the end of the semester) they are in the lab.
will be held in the OHS 326 lab, using the Linux computers. David Wolfe will be the primary lab instructor.
The two intra-term exams will be conducted during the evening from
7:30-9:0pm on March 11 and April 15, in OHS 321 and OHS 103,
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; a tentative date and time
is shown in the syllabus.
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 1:30pm on
March 10th, for homeworks 3 and 4 after 1:30pm on April 14th, or for homeworks 5 and
6 after 1:30pm on May 21st. These cutoff dates are intentionally
synchronized with the test reviews; 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 mandatory for all lab sessions, unless you have already
turned in your project report. I will excuse up to two absences per
student, for any reason. Use yours wisely. If you exceed this
allowance, I may reduce your course grade by up to one letter grade.
Regarding class days, the policy is that you will be responsible for
all material, whether or not you are in attendance when it is covered
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:
Please see me if you have any question how you stand.
- 36% lab assignments (6 @ 6% each)
- 16% homework (see above)
- 48% exams (3 @ 16% each)
All homework and project reports should be readily readable, and should
not presuppose that we already know what you are trying to say. Use
full English sentences where appropriate (namely almost everywhere)
and clear graphs, tables, programs, etc. 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.
Each project assignment will include specific expectations for that
project's report, including the audience for which it should be
written. You should pay careful attention to this information.
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
|2/10||11.1-11.2||The SLIM architecture||
|2/11||Writing about experiments (9am students: OHS 306)||
|2/12||11.3||SLIM's instruction set||
|2/13||Lab 1: Assembly language programming||
|2/14||No class: campus conversation||
|2/17||11.4||Iteration in assembly language||
|2/18||Lab 1 (continued)||
|2/19||11.5||Recursion in assembly language||HW 1
|2/20||Lab 1 (continued)||
|2/21||More on assembly programming||
|2/24||11.6||Memory in Scheme: vectors||
|2/25||Lab 1 (concludes)||
|2/26||No class: trip to Federated Insurance||
|2/28||12.1-12.2||Revisiting tree recursion||Lab 1
|3/4||Lab 2: Optimally playing the
|3/5||12.4||Dynamic programming||HW 2
|3/6||Lab 2 (continued)||
|3/7||12.5||Comparing memoization and dynamic programming||
|3/11||Test 1, 7:30-9:00pm, OHS 321; no lab||
|3/13||Lab 2 (continued)||
|3/17||More on Micro-Scheme||
|3/18||Lab 2 (concludes)||
|3/19||10.4||Global definitions: Mini-Scheme||Lab 2
|3/20||Lab 3: Extending evaluators||
|3/21||10.5||Adding explanatory output||HW 3
|3/24||13.1-13.2||Arithmetic expressions revisited||
|3/25||Lab 3 (continued)||
|3/26||Introduction to Java||
|3/27||Lab 3 (continued)||
|4/7||Rep. invariants, stacks, and queues||HW 4
|4/8||Lab 3 (concludes)||
|4/9||Graph algorithms||Lab 3
|4/10||Lab 4: Word ladders||
|4/11||More on graph algorithms||
|4/15||Test 2, 7:30-9:00pm, OHS 103; no lab||
|4/17||Lab 4 (continued)||
|4/22||Lab 4 (continued)||
|4/23||More on object-oriented programming||
|4/24||Lab 4 (concludes)||
|4/25||14.3||Extensions/variations on compu-duds||HW 5
|4/28||14.5||The Land of Gack||
|4/29||No lab: trip to West Group||
|4/30||Lab 5: Adventures in the
Imaginary Land of Gack (lab instead of class)||Lab 4
|5/1||Lab 5 (continued)||
|5/5||15.3||Event-driven GUI programming in Java||
|5/6||Lab 5 (continued)||
|5/7||More on event-driven GUI programming||
|5/8||Lab 5 (continued)||
|5/12||More on concurrency||
|5/13||Lab 5 (concludes)||
|5/14||Lab 6: Java and Concurrency (lab instead of class)||Lab 5
|5/15||Lab 6 (continued)||
|5/16||Lab 6 (continued) (lab instead of class)||
|5/19||Lab 6 (continued) (lab instead of class)||
|5/20||Lab 6 (concludes)||
|5/21||Review and evaluation||Lab 6
|5/23||Final, 3:30-5:30pm, OHS 320||
Course web site: http://www.gustavus.edu/~mc28/
Instructor: Max Hailperin <email@example.com>
Primary lab instructor: David Wolfe <firstname.lastname@example.org>