Course Overview - Spring 2018
Principles of Computing (15110)
is a course in fundamental computing principles for students with little to no computing background. 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 for graphics. 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. Prerequisites: none.
- Lecture 1: MWF 2:30 - 3:20pm, DH A302, Professor Tom Cortina
- Lecture 2: MWF 3:30 - 4:20pm, DH A302, Professor Tom Cortina
- Labs (Sections A-N): Thursdays, held by course TAs in GHC 5207 and GHC 5210
You are required to go to your assigned lecture and lab. Since part of your
course grade depends on lab
participation, you must go to your assigned section to get lab credit.
Given the large number of students in this
course, please do not ask to attend a different lab for convenience
or if you miss a lab due to oversleeping, lack of
proper time management, personal trips, etc.
There will be in-class quizzes given during lecture at random times
during the semester. We will drop two of your
lowest scoring quizzes. If you miss a quiz or if you attend
the wrong lecture, you will receive a 0 for that quiz.
There are no makeups for quizzes. We will also drop your two
lowest lab scores. If you miss a lab or go to the
wrong lab section, you will receive a 0 for that lab. There are
no makeups for labs. Please note that there are also
2 lab exams given during 2 lab meetings and these are not dropped.
Course Grading/Lateness Policy
All assignments must be handed in on time (unless you are given
instructions otherwise). Late or missing
work will receive a 0. The reason this is done is so that
we can get feedback to you as quickly as possible so
you can learn from your mistakes. Additionally, it allows us
to post a sample solution as soon as possible for the
benefit of all students.
You are allowed to drop one problem
set (PS) and 1 programming assignment (PA)
without penalty (except PA9, PA10 and PA11 which cannot be dropped).
A missed or late assignment is given a grade of 0.
You are still responsible for
understanding the material on the dropped assignments.
You must take all exams (written and lab exams) at the times they are
given. NO MAKEUPS FOR EXAMS
will be allowed except for acceptable documented circumstances
(e.g. major illness, death in immediate
family, university-sanctioned event with verification
from advisor/coach, etc.). Personal travel is not a valid reason.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT FINAL EXAMS:
Do NOT make travel plans until you
have the official final exam schedule, and you
know definitively when your last final is. No early
exams will be given, and students with conflicts
or more than 3 exams in 25 hours might need to take
a final on the official makeup day (Tue., May 15).
Travel cost or a parent booking a trip for you is NOT a
valid excuse for an alternate final. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Your course grade will be calculated based on the following:
Grades from all assignments and exams may be reviewed for up to
5 days after they are returned/posted. After
this period, the grade is considered final and cannot be changed.
- 10 Problem Sets: 15% (1.5% each)
- 10 Programming Assignments: 15% (1.5% each)
- Lab Participation: 5%
- In-Lecture Quizzes: 5%
- 2 Lab Exams: 10% (5% each)
- 3 Written Exams: 30% (10% each)
- Final Exam: 20%
We reserve the right to review an entire
assignment/exam if it is submitted for re-grading.
The value of your degree depends on the academic integrity
of yourself and your peers in each of your classes. It
is expected that, unless otherwise instructed, the work
you submit as your own will be your own work and
not someone else's work or a collaboration between yourself and other(s),
whether they are currently in this course or not.
Please read the University information on
the value of integrity for you, your peers and the university
along with the penalties and processes associated with academic
dishonesty at CMU. In this class, cheating/copying/plagiarism
means copying all or part of a program or problem
set solution from another student or unauthorized source,
giving such information to another student or posting
solutions online for other students to retrieve, or giving or
receiving unauthorized information during a quiz or
examination. In general, each solution you submit (program code,
written homework or quiz/exam) must be your
OWN work. In the event that you use information written by another
person in your solution, you must cite the
source of this information (and receive permission if required).
Your course instructor reserves the right to determine an appropriate
penalty based on the violation of academic
dishonesty that occurs.
Violations of the university policy can
result in severe penalties including failing this
course and possible expulsion from Carnegie Mellon University.
If you have any questions about this policy and
any work you are doing in the course, please feel free to
contact your instructor for help before you approach a possible violation.
You can be charged without warning; do not expect multiple chances
to show integrity in the face of violations.
Special note: If you find that stress or difficult life events
are making you think of committing a violation of the
academic integrity policy, please speak with your instructor
or send an email. Special short-term accommodations
can be made depending on the situation. Reach out to your
instructor instead of committing a violation. We can help.
If you have a disability that may affect your learning and assessment
in this course, and you have an accommodations letter
from the Disability Resources office, please submit the
letter to your instructor and discuss your needs as soon
as possible. We will work with you to ensure that
accommodations are provided as appropriate. If you
suspect that you may have a disability that may impact your
performance in this course, please contact the Disability
Resources office at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Health and Wellness
Do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle this semester
by eating well, exercising, avoiding drugs and alcohol,
getting enough sleep and taking some time to relax. This
will help you achieve your goals and cope with stress.
All of us benefit from support during times of struggle.
If you or anyone you know experiences any academic
stress, difficult life events, or feelings of anxiety or
depression, we strongly encourage you to seek support.
Contact the Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS)
office at 412-268-2922 and visit their website at
for more information.
If you or someone you know is in danger of self-harm,
please call someone immediately, day or night:
Re:solve Crisis Network: 888-796-8226
CMU Police: On-Campus 412-268-2323, Off-Campus 911