15-214 Principles of Software System Construction Course Policies


Software engineers today are less likely to design data structures and algorithms from scratch and more likely to build systems from library and framework components. In this course, students engage with concepts related to the construction of software systems at scale, building on their understanding of the basic building blocks of data structures, algorithms, program structures, and computer structures. The course covers technical topics in four areas: (1) concepts of design for complex systems, (2) object oriented programming, (3) static and dynamic analysis for programs, and (4) concurrent and distributed software. Student assignments involve engagement with complex software such as distributed massively multi-player game systems and frameworks for graphical user interaction.

After completing this course, students will: Prerequisites:


Evaluation will be based on the following approximate percentages:

Time Management

This is a 12-unit course, and it is our intention to manage it so that you spend close to 12 hours a week on the course, on average.  In general, 4 hours/week will be spent in class and 8 hours on assignments.  Please feel free to give the course staff feedback on how much time the course is taking for you.

Late Work Policy

Each student has five late days for the semester, and you may use up to two late days for each assignment unless the policy for the assignment specifies otherwise. If you run out of late days you may still turn in your work up to two days late, but your work will receive a 10% penalty per day it is late after you run out of late days. Work turned in more than two days late will only be accepted under extraordinary circumstances.

For example, consider a homework assignment due Tuesday night. If you have one late day remaining you may turn in that assignment on Thursday night, which would use your last late day and also receive a 10% penalty. If you have no late days remaining you may still turn in that assignment Thursday night, but it would receive a 20% penalty. Work turned in Friday night (3 days late) would receive no credit regardless of how many late days you have remaining; we only accept work two days late no matter how many late days you have.

A student may use her five late days only for the individual (non-partner-based) assignments in the semester. We will make separate late-day provisions for any partner-based assignments.

Collaboration Policy

We expect that your work on assignments, projects, and exams will be your own work.  Thus, you may not copy any part of a solution to a problem that was written by another student, or was developed together with another student, or was copied from another unauthorized source such as the Internet.  You may not look at another student's solution, even if you have completed your own, nor may you knowingly give your solution to another student or leave your solution where another student can see it.

If any of your work contains any statement that was not written by you, you must put it in quotes and cite the source. If you are paraphrasing an idea you read elsewhere, you must acknowledge the source.  Using existing material without proper citation is plagiarism, a form of cheating.  If there is any question about whether the material is permitted, you must get permission in advance.  We will be using automated systems to detect software plagiarism.

It is not considered cheating to clarify vague points in the assignments, lectures, lecture notes, or to give help or receive help in using the computer systems, compilers, debuggers, profilers, or other facilities.

Some assignments are specifically noted as group projects.  For these, interpret "you" in the preceeding paragraphs to mean "you and your partner(s)."

Any violation of this policy is cheating.  The minimum penalty for cheating (including plagiarism) will be a zero grade for the whole assignment.  Cheating incidents will also be reported through University channels, with possible additional disciplinary action.  For more information, see the University Policy on Academic Integrity.

If you have any question about how this policy applies in a particular situation, ask the instructors or TAs for clarification.

Disability Accommodations

If you wish to request an accommodation due to a documented disability, please inform your instructor as soon as possible and contact Disability Resources at 412.268.2013 or lpowell@andrew.cmu.edu.