CS 500 Fundamentals of Programming is taken by CS MS students during their first term in the MS program. The main outcomes of the course are proficiency in C programming and data structures and algorithms. It is assumed that students starting the course have passed the CS MS admissions process (see Graduate Admissions Interview).
This page contains the syllabus for the course and is used to keep track of assignments, etc. as well for the most recent offering (fall 2022).
- 1 General Information
- 2 Course Description and Content
- 3 Grading and Assignments
- 4 CS-Specific Items
- 5 ISU Required Syllabus Items
Course website - https://cs.indstate.edu/wiki/index.php/CS_500
Lecture: TR 9:30-10:45 in Root Hall A-017 and over Zoom
Mid-term exam: TBA
Final exam: Tuesday, Dec 6, 10-11:50am
Prerequisites - admission to the CS MS program or approval of instructor.
CRN numbers - 53200 for the 001 face to face section, 52021 for the 301 online section
- We will use the following free online sources.
- C programming - Essential C by Nick Parlante, C Reference at cppreference.com
- Data structures and algorithms - Open Data Stuctures by Pat Morin, Algorithms by Jeff Erickson
- Math content - Building Blocks for Theoretical Computer Science by Margaret M. Fleck, Mathematics for Computer Science by Eric Lehman, F Thomson Leighton, and Albert R Meyer
- Additional sources - as needed.
Class notes - Notes during class will mostly be kept in the CS 500 OneNote notebook. Note that you will need to authenticate with your ISU account to view the notebook.
Course Description and Content
The catalog description for this course is: "Review of undergraduate topics in Computer Science including Data Structures, Computer Architecture, and Computer Organization. Review of a computer programming language that students can expect to use in advanced courses." The two main goals are that you leave the course as proficient C programmers and proficient at using and analyzing the most important data structures and algorithms.
- Getting started - system setup, git, linux, bash, make, apache, math background.
- C programming basics - operators, reserved words, data types, base systems, overflow.
- C programming strings - manipulation of C strings.
- C programming memory management - different types of memory in C, how to use them, pros and cons.
- C programming style - good programming style for reliability, readability, extensibility, security.
- Data structures - understanding/use of most important data structures - arrays, linked lists, skip list, binary search trees, red black trees, hash tables, heaps, B tree. Implementation of some of these in C.
- Algorithms - understanding/use of basic algorithms - sorting (various), binary/linear search (and uses), graph algorithms (basic properties, BFS, DFS, MST, shortest path), strings (edit distance) - including some algorithms that are each of - greedy, dynamic programming, heuristic, randomized, brute force / backtracking.
- Vocab - additional terms, algorithms, concepts at a shallow level.
- System setup - personal computer setup for both remote (connecting to CS server with terminal, sftp, X windows) and local development (editor, compiler).
- Git - basic use of git for source code management.
- Linux - proficient using the Linux terminal for development.
- Bash - basic use of bash scripts for testing code.
- Make - basic use of GNU make for compiling code.
- Apache - able to post content to your CS accounts to be viewable over the web.
- Math background - proficient in math background needed for data structures and algorithms.
- C programming - understanding of all language features, proficient in writing code using the most common, write code using good programming style.
- Data structures - understanding of operations, efficiency, use cases, can write code in C for data structure operations.
- Algorithms - understanding of basic algorithms, arguments for correctness and efficiency, can use the write algorithms to solve problems efficiently.
Grading and Assignments
We will be trying out what I am calling "achievements-based" grading. There are a series of skills, knowledge, and experiences that I want you to achieve. Your final letter grades will be based strictly on which of these you have completed. For each achievement, you can achieve the rating of incomplete, pass-, pass, pass+. The following will be our starting point for how letter grades will be assigned. I will reevaluate this around the middle of the term to make sure we are on track.
C - lowest passing grade in a grad course
- Pass or higher achievement for all the following
- System setup, git, linux, bash, make, apache, math background
- C programming basics
- Data structures basic understanding - arrays (stack and queue), linked lists (stack and queue), binary search trees, hash tables
- Data structures programming - can write the code for methods for some of the above
- Data structures programming - can use some of the above data structures to solve problems
- Sorting algorithms - basic understanding of at least one slow and at least one efficient sorting algorithm
- Sorting algorithms - can write the code for at least one sorting algorithm
- Algorithm techniques - basic understanding of at least one greedy, divide and conquer, brute force, and dynamic programming algorithm.
- Asymptotic resource usage - basic understanding, can use Jeff's rules of thumb in simplifying expressions
B - satisfactory
- In addition to the above...
- Data structures programming - can write the code for methods for most of the "C grade" basic data structures
- Data structures programming - can use most of the "C grade" basic data structures to solve problems
- Data structures basic understanding - skip list, red black trees, heap, B tree
- Sorting algorithms - can write the code for at least one slow and at least one efficient sorting algorithm
- Sorting algorithms - basic understanding of multiple slow and multiple efficient sorting algorithms
- Graph algorithms - basic understanding of the adjacency lists, adjacency matrices, graph algorithms DFS, BFS
- Asymptotic resource usage - can apply the precise definitions of big-O, little-o, big-Omega, little-omega, big-Theta to simplify and compare expressions; can apply the master theorem or recursion tree methods to recursive resource formulae
A - good/excellent
- In addition to the above...
- Pass+ rating on most of the above
- Pass or higher achievement for all of the following
- Graph algorithms - can write the code for "B level" graph algorithms
- Graph algorithms - basic understanding of an MST algorithm and shortest path algorithm
- Asymptotic resource usage - can apply the master theorem and recursion tree methods to recursive resource formulae
- Integer algorithms - basic understanding of faster-than-obvious multiplication and exponentiation algorithms
- Algorithm techniques - can write code for at least one algorithm for each of the "C level" algorithm techniques
- Algorithm techniques - basic understanding of the multiple algorithms for each of the "C level" algorithm techniques
- Complexity theory - basic understanding of the definitions of L, P, NP, PSPACE, EXP and a few canonical problems in each
Achievements can be earned based on quizzes, assignments, in-class work, and exams. Rather than having numerical scores for these, I will use them to mark off your achievements. Note that achievements can be "lost" if you demonstrate a skill early in the term and then demonstrate a lack of the skill later in the term. I expect this will not normally be the case, but I will continue to evaluate you based on all of the skills throughout the term.
Late Work - All homework assignments will be given a preferred due date. Assignments can be turned in past the preferred due date, but any assignments turned in late will have their value multiplied by 80% (so the highest grade you can get on a late assignment is 80%). Any assignment discussed in depth in class are effectively closed and no credit will be given.
Start Homework Early - I suggest attempting a homework assignment the day it is given, or the day after, so that if you have a problem you can ask early. If you continue to have problems in trying to complete the assignment, you will have time to ask again. Many of the homework assignments require thought and problem solving, which takes "time on the calendar" not just "time on the clock". By that I mean that spending an hour on 3 consecutive days is likely to be more productive than trying to spend 3 hours at once on the assignment.
Expected Amount of Work - My expectation is that an average student will spend about 5-10 hours OUTSIDE of class each week (that is in addition to class time) WORKING PRODUCTIVELY/ EFFICIENTLY (not just staring at the computer) to complete their coursework for this class. Some students may spend less time than this, and some students will spend more.
This is the foundation for the rest of CS, so it definitely pays off to do your best here. Note - this is your most important class, by far (for CS majors).
Note - please find a way to spend enough time on this class (the investment will pay off in terms of skills, being able to get a job, etc.).
Grade Cutoffs - Homework assignments and exams are designed so that a standard cutoff for grades will be close to what you deserve. After the first exam I will create a grade in Blackboard called "Letter Grade" that is what your letter grade would be if the semester ended today. Initially, I will assign the following grades: 93-100 A, 90-93 A-, 87-90 B+, 83-87 B, 80-83 B-, 77-80 C+, 73-77 C, 70-73 C-, 67-70 D+, 63-67 D, 60-63 D-, 0-60 F
My goal is that the different grades have the following rough meaning. A+/A You understand everything and probably could teach the course yourself.
B+/A- You understand nearly everything, and should be all set to use this knowledge in other courses or in a job.
C/C+/B-/B Some things you understand very well and others you don't (more towards the former for a B and more towards the latter for a C).
D-/D+/C- You did put some effort in, and understand many things at a high level, but you haven't mastered the details well enough to be able to use this knowledge in the future.
F Normally, students that get an F simply stopped doing the required work at some point.
This section contains items that are generally the same for all CS courses (and in particular those taught by this instructor).
We have a few graduate assistants who are available to help students in beginning computer science courses. Please see https://cs.indstate.edu/wiki/index.php/Unix_Lab_and_Help for details. The lab hours are in a calendar on the CS homepage, at http://cs.indstate.edu/info/index.php#lab_hours. You can join the lab when working on your programs. You can ask the lab assistants to look at your programs, and you can work with any other CS students that are there (you could use the lab as a regular meeting place to work with your classmates).
Announcements regarding the course will be made both during class and via email to your @sycamores.indstate.edu email address. You should regularly check this email account or have it forwarded to an account that you check regularly. You can set the account to forward by logging into your indstate.edu email from Internet Explorer (the "light" version of the webmail client that opens up from Firefox or Chrome does not give the option to forward email).
You may not use cell phones, iPods/music players, etc. during class. You should be civil and respectful to both the instructor and your classmates, and you should arrive to class a few minutes before the scheduled lecture so you are ready for lecture to begin on time. You may use your computer during class if you are using it to follow along with the examples that are being discussed. You may not check email, Facebook, work on other courses, etc. during class.
Please follow these guidelines to avoid problems with academic misconduct in this course: Homework: You may discuss the homework assignments, but should solve and finish them on your own. To make sure you are not violating this, if you discuss with someone, you should DESTROY any work or evidence of the discussion, go your separate ways, SPEND at least an hour doing something completely unrelated to the assignment, and then you should be able to RECREATE the program/solution on your own, then turn that in. If you cannot recreate the solution on your own, then it is not your work, and you should not turn it in.
Note on sources: if you use some other source, the web or whatever, you better cite it! Not doing so is plagiarism.
Exams: This should be clear no cheating during exams. The exams will be closed-book, closed-notes, no computer, and no calculator. You may be allowed one sheet of 8.5" by 11" piece of paper with hand-written notes to use as a crib-sheet for your tests.
Projects: You should not copy from the Internet or anywhere else. The project should be your own work. It will be fairly obvious to me if you do copy code from the Internet, and the consequences will be at the least a 0 on the project. If cheating is observed, you will at the least receive a 0 for the assignment (and may receive an F for the course), and I will file a Notification of Academic Integrity Violation Report with Student Judicial Programs, as required by the university's policy on Academic Integrity. A student who is caught cheating twice (whether in a single course or different courses) is likely to be brought before the All University Court hearing panel, which can impose sanctions up to and including suspension/expulsion. See the http://www.indstate.edu/sjp/docs/code.pdf and http://www.indstate.edu/academicintegrity/ for more information.
Please ask the instructor if you have doubts about what is considered cheating in this course.
Office hours (using Teams)
Office hours will be through Microsoft Teams by default. If you would like to meet in person you should reserve an appointment using http://cs.indstate.edu/scheduler to reserve an in person meeting with Jeff Kinne. For meeting through Teams, you should start Teams in your browser or start the application. You should be logged in using your ISU credentials. Once you have Teams open you can message me to ask me questions or to ask to talk. We can use Teams to message (better than emailing back and forth repeatedly if you have questions about something that you just want to write about) or to talk and share screens (e.g., to take a look at your code). I normally have Teams open on my computer all of the time, including during my office hours. During my office hours I will normally reply right away; at other times I will reply when I get a chance.
CS Course Policies
Note that this course follows all standard CS course policies. In particular, (a) cheating/plagiarism by graduate students results in an F in the course, (b) missing 20% of the classes results in an F for any student, and (c) there will be no makeup exams. See http://cs.indstate.edu/info/policies.html for details.
The course has a canvas site. Click https://indstate.instructure.com/ to go to canvas. You should see this course listed under your courses for the current term. The canvas site is used for giving you your grades, for quizzes/exams, and for getting to online lectures (which are done using Zoom). Announcements will be sent through canvas and to your university email. Links and such will be kept on this website.
Lectures (using Zoom)
Here at ISU section numbers starting with the number 3 (e.g.3xx: 301, 302, etc.) are generally online sections. There are 2 types of online sections, synchronous online and asynchronous online. Sections that are synchronous must be joined at the regularly scheduled time of the course, whereas sections that are asynchronous must keep up with the material independently without regularly scheduled meetings. In general async sections are more difficult, and require a great deal of self-discipline (it is much easier to think "I can watch the videos tomorrow" and just get behind). So if you are in one of these sections make sure you get off to a strong start, and ask for help sooner rather than later. Check your course schedule for course meeting times, and if you have a meeting time, then your section is synchronous, otherwise it is asynchronous (or there is an error in the system).
This course has a 301 section (synchronous online) and 001 section (face to face). Students in either section can participate in whatever way you need to.
For ISU's links to information on getting started with Zoom, see https://indstate.teamdynamix.com/TDClient/1851/Portal/KB/ArticleDet?ID=109823. You can also see the information at https://www.indstate.edu/fcte under the heading/link "Student Resources". You will get to the lectures for this course by going to Blackboard for this course, and click on "Zoom - for lectures" on the lefthand menu (or click on Tools and scroll down to Zoom). Once there you should see a schedule of lectures and be able to view recorded lectures. Note that you should install the Zoom application for your computer, and you will need to be logged into to Zoom with your ISU credentials to be able to connect. Also note that the lectures are recorded and only available to those in our class.
If you are participating online, please see the information at https://www.indstate.edu/fcte under the heading/link "Student Resources". You are expected to either join lectures live through Zoom or watch the recordings once they are available. You will complete assignments, quizzes, and exams on the same schedule as the rest of the class. For quizzes and exams you will normally have a 24 hour period during which to take the quiz/exam (note that different students will have slightly different questions and any communication between students about quiz/exam content is academic misconduct).
ISU Required Syllabus Items
The items in this section are required and are the same for every ISU course.
Information specific to CS courses - Start of Term Announcements
Standard ISU language required in all syllabi (read this all once, then skim for your other courses)...
Students are expected to adhere to course attendance policies, as stated in the course syllabus. Students must complete the Sycamore Symptom Assessment by email before arriving on campus each day unless they have documented their COVID immunization and have been exempted from the program. Documented COVID-related absences will be treated like any other serious medical issue. Following University policy, students with a documented, serious medical issue must contact the Office of the Dean of Students for assistance. The Office of the Dean of Students will supply documentation for faculty. Students with a documented serious medical issue should not be penalized and will be given a reasonable chance to complete exams or assignments. Once notification is made, faculty will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the student’s absence and will communicate that accommodation directly to the student. Please note that faculty are not required to accommodate a serious medical issue with virtual content options, like streaming or recorded lectures. Students who have been notified by contact tracers of a close contact who has tested positive for COVID must abide by their instructions, which will include a mandatory period of quarantine, especially if the student is unvaccinated, and/or mandatory testing. To avoid the potential of missing significant class time, students are strongly encouraged to receive the COVID vaccination that has been made available on campus. For more information about the vaccines or to find a vaccination site, go to: ourshot.in.gov. The ISU Health Center also administers COVID-19 vaccines by appointment.
Students should contact the Office of the Dean of Students with questions by calling 812-237-3829.
The information provided in this section of the syllabus is subject to modification based on guidance by public health authorities. Please follow this link for updated information on ISU’s Fall 2021 requirements.
Masks on campus: All faculty, staff, and students are required to wear face coverings anytime they are in public spaces. In classrooms they are required of faculty, staff, and students. Failure to comply with this policy will be treated, by policy, as would any student disruption of class. (A refusal or failure to properly wear an appropriate mask will result in the faculty member asking the student to do so. A refusal of that request may result in the student being asked to leave the class for that period. A refusal of that request may result in the faculty member cancelling class and referring the matter to the Office of Student Conduct and Integrity.) A failure of a faculty member to wear an appropriate mask/shield should be reported to the Chairperson of the faculty member.
Face coverings will be worn by all students and faculty in classrooms as well as in buildings (unless you are alone in an office). What is said/printed on a mask will be held to the same Student Code of Conduct standard as if it were printed on a shirt or hat. As a result, a political statement such as MAGA, BIDEN2020, or BLM is not grounds for demanding that it be removed/replaced. In judging what constitutes an offensive statement on a mask, the determination will be made by Student Affairs using the Student Code of Conduct. If there is a question about a mask, the faculty member will refer the matter to Student Affairs and only insist upon its immediate removal if there is no doubt that it violates the Code. Medical waivers will be made through Student Affairs and students with such a waiver are expected to carry the documentation with them and present it when asked.
Special Needs / Disability Services
Standard ISU language required in all syllabi...
Indiana State University recognizes that students with disabilities may have special needs that must be met to give them equal access to college programs and facilities. If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, please contact us as soon as possible in a confidential setting either after class or in my office. All conversations regarding your disability will be kept in strict confidence. Indiana State University's Student Support Services (SSS) office coordinates services for students with disabilities: documentation of a disability needs to be on file in that office before any accommodations can be provided. Student Support Services is located on the lower level of Normal Hall in the Center for Student Success and can be contacted at 812-237-2700, or you can visit the ISU website under A-Z, Disability Student Services and submit a Contact Form. Appointments to discuss accommodations with SSS staff members are encouraged.
Once a faculty member is notified by Student Support Services that a student is qualified to receive academic accommodations, a faculty member is obligated to provide or allow a reasonable classroom accommodation under ADA.
Disclosures Regarding Sexual Misconduct
Standard ISU language required in all syllabi...
Indiana State University Policy 923 strictly prohibits discrimination on the basis of: age, disability, genetic information, national origin, pregnancy, race/color, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other class protected by federal and state statutes in ISU programs and activities or that interferes with the educational or workplace environment.
Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment. Sexual harassment includes quid pro quo harassment, unwelcome verbal or physical conduct, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
If you witness or experience any forms of the above discrimination, you may report to:
Office: Equal Opportunity & Title IX; (812) 237-8954; Rankin Hall, Room 426
Disclosures made to the following confidential campus resources will not be reported to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX:
ISU Student Counseling Center: (812) 237-3939; Gillum Hall, 2nd Floor
Victim Advocate: (812) 237-3829; HMSU 7th Floor
UAP Clinic/ISU Health Center: (812) 237-3883; 567 N. 5th Street