15110 Principles of Computing

Principles of Computing

FALL 2011



Jump Image Fast Links: Instructors | Assistants | Meeting Times | Textbooks | Grades | Academic Integrity | Students with Disabilities

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. 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.

UPDATE: Speak with your advisor about whether you are required to take 15110 or 15112 (Fundamentals in Programming) or both.


Tom Cortina image Dr. Tom Cortina (Lead Instructor)
Email: tcortina "at" cs.cmu.edu
Office: Gates Hillman Center 6017
Office Hours: MWF 1:00-2:00PM and by appointment (except campus holidays)
Phone: 412-268-3514
Jeffery von Ronne image Dr. Jeffery von Ronne (Instructor)
Email: vonronne "at" cs.cmu.edu
Office: Gates Hillman Center 6009
Office Hours: MW 10:30AM-12:00PM and by appointment (except campus holidays)
Phone: 412-268-4060

Course Assistants (CA's)

Vineet Baldwa - andrew id: vbaldwa
Eric Balkanski - andrew id: ebalkans
Tamar Ben-Shachar - andrew id: tbenshac
Eshan Chordia - andrew id: echordia
Eric Gottlieb - andrew id: egottlie
Michael Hansen - andrew id: mhansen1
Max Herman - andrew id: mpherman
Brian Humbarger - andrew id: bhumbarg
Vishal Jeet - andrew id: vjeet
Cathy Li - andrew id: chli
Phil Mansfield - andrew id: pmansfie
Brenden Patch - andrew id: bpatch
Carrie Purta - andrew id: cpurta
Matt Sarett - andrew id: msarett
Sanil Shah - andrew id: sanils
Dylan Swen - andrew id: dswen
Michaela van Peursem - andrew id: mvanpeur

You can go to any course assistant listed above for help with the course material in our sections. In addition, some of your work will be graded by the course assistants. If you have any questions about a specific grade given by any CA, you should try to meet that CA during his/her office hours for assistance. If you cannot meet a specific CA during his/her office hours for grading questions, please email that CA for a special appointment. (See EXTRA HELP for the schedule for extra help hours for course assistants.)

Meeting Times

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.

Lecture 1 MWF 2:30PM-3:20PM GHC 4401
Lab Section A R 9:30AM-10:20AM GHC 5201
Lab Section B R 9:30AM-10:20AM GHC 5205
Lab Section C R 10:30AM-11:20AM GHC 5201
Lab Section D R 10:30AM-11:20AM GHC 5205
Lab Section E R 12:30PM-1:20PM GHC 5201
Lab Section F R 12:30PM-1:20PM GHC 5205
Lab Section G R 2:30PM-3:20PM GHC 5201
Lab Section H R 2:30PM-3:20PM GHC 5205

Lecture 2 MWF 3:30PM-4:20PM GHC 4401
Lab Section I R 3:30PM-4:20PM GHC 5201
Lab Section J R 3:30PM-4:20PM GHC 5205
Lab Section K R 11:30AM-12:20PM GHC 5201
Lab Section L R 11:30AM-12:20PM GHC 5205
Lab Section M R 4:30PM-5:20PM GHC 5201
Lab Section N R 4:30PM-5:20PM GHC 5205

Course Textbooks

The following textbook is required. Additional information about each topic we cover in class is found in this textbook so if you want to get a better understanding of the course material, you are encouraged to read the corresponding sections of the textbook. At least one copy of this textbook will be available on reserve in the library in Wean (4th floor) for use in the library only.

Book image Explorations in Computing: An Introduction to Computer Science
by John Conery
Publisher: CRC Press (2011)
ISBN: 978-1439812624

This textbook is available in the campus bookstore. The book is also available from CRC Press directly at a 20% discount (use discount code 888FX at checkout) or as an e-book directly from Vital Source at a 31% discount.

In addition to the course textbook, there will be additional readings from the following book:

Book image Blown To Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness after the Digital Explosion
by Hal Abelson, Ken Ledeen, and Harry Lewis
Publisher: Addison-Wesley (2008)
ISBN: 978-0137135592

This book is available FOR FREE from http://www.bitsbook.com/. You can buy a hardcopy of this book if you wish from any major bookseller.

Course Grading

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 prepare for the exams. Additionally, it allows us to post a sample solution as soon as possible for the benefit of all students. You are allowed to drop 1 written assignment and 1 online/programming assignment without penalty (except where noted). You are still responsible for understanding the material on the dropped assignments. See the ASSIGNMENTS page for detailed information about this grading policy.

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.).

Your course grade will be calculated based on the following:

Homework Assignments: 30%
Lab Participation: 10%
Lab Exam: 5%
3 Written Exams: 30% (10% each)
Final Exam: 25%

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. We reserve the right to review an entire assignment/exam if it is submitted for re-grading.

You may check your grades throughout the semester by logging on to Blackboard.

Academic Integrity

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).

Please read the University Policy on Cheating and Plagiarism carefully to understand the penalties associated with academic dishonesty at CMU. In this class, cheating/copying/plagiarism means copying all or part of a program or homework solution from another student or unauthorized source, knowingly giving such information to another student, or giving or receiving unauthorized information during an examination. In general, each solution you submit (term paper, homework or 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.

Students With Disabilities

Individuals with documented disabilities may be eligible to receive services/accomodations from CMU's Equal Opportunity Services (EOS) office. For more information, please contact Larry Powell, Manager of Disability Services at (412) 268-2013 (voice/TTY).