• Overview
  • Prerequisites
  • The people
  • The lectures
  • Textbooks
  • Online Resources
  • COMP 150 Web Page
  • Discussion Group
  • Email with Instructor
  • Graded Work
  • Assignments (50%)
  • Exams (50%)
  • Course Grades
  • Academic Honesty
  • Late Policies
  • Computing at Loyola
  • Departmental Network and Labs
  • Computer Center's run by division of Information Services

  • Overview

    An introduction to computer science providing a broad survey of the discipline while emphasizing the computer's role as a tool for describing, organizing and manipulating information. Topics to include machine architecture, software, data organization, and the potential and limitation of machines. Serves as a terminal course for students who want a one-course introduction to the field, as well as a preliminary course to upper-level computer science offerings. Note: this is NOT a programming class and it may be taken concurrently with COMP 125 or 170.


    There are both official and unofficial prerequisites for this course. The official prerequisite is MATH 100 (Intermediate Algebra) or equivalent placement. The reason for this prerequisite is that our study of computer science will inherently involve a level of analytical and mathematical sophistication. This will arise in understanding how information is represented digitally and how computations proceed on such data.

    The unofficial prerequisite is that, although we do not expect students to have any formal training in computing, we will expect that the great majority of students enter the class with at least some experience as a user of computers. Specifically, we will assume that students are comfortable with creating text files, sending and reading email, and using a web browser to explore content on the Internet. Students who do not have this experience are certainly welcome in the class however they should be aware that these topics are not going to be covered during lecture. The instructor can provide advice for gaining such experience.

    The people

    Michael Goldwasser
    Email: mhg@cs.luc.edu
    Office: DH 115 (inside the DH105 Suite), Lake Shore Campus
    Phone: (773) 508-2883
    Hours: Saturdays, 12:30-1:30pm and 4:30-5:00pm, or by appointment
    Teaching Assistant:
    Feven Atnafu
    Office Hours: Saturdays 12:30-1:30pm and 4:30-5:00pm
    Location: DH 310 (inside the DH350 Suite)
    Phone: (773) 508-3584

    The lectures

    The material will be presented in one weekly lecture, meeting Saturdays, from 1:30-4:30pm, in room 730 of Damen Hall on the Lake Shore Campus Class participation is most welcome.


    There are two required textbooks for this course:
    Computer Science, An Overview, 6th edition
    J. Glenn Brookshear
    Addison Wesley, 2000. ISBN 0-201-35747-X
    This book will be the primary reading for the course and provides the outline we will follow through the material. This book is a great source which provides a solid, intuitive understanding of computer science while at the same time avoiding the temptation to overly simplify. This book also contains a wealth of information which we will not have time to cover. For each chapter, we will likely cover only a selection of topics, leaving the rest for those who wish to do additional reading (or for those who continue in Computer Science).

    The Analytical Engine: An Introduction to Computer Science Using the Internet
    Rick Decker and Stuart Hirshfield
    Brooks/Cole Pub, 1998. ISBN 0-534-95365-4
    This book comes with a wonderful suite of software which will form the basis for many of our assignments. For this reason, if you are buying a used copy of the book, please make sure that it still contains the enclosed CD. The text is written with a more light-hearted style. Some of the readings will directly related to our assignments, some of the reading will be used as supplemental support for selected topics, and some of the reading will be left as optional for those who are interested.

    Of course, there are volumes of other books related to various aspects of Computer Science. The end of each chapter in the Brookshear book generally gives references to the other fundamental readings for the given topic. Additionally, there are some other books which try to give an overview of computer science in the same spirit as the books we have chosen. Though we have chosen not to use the following books, we list them for your interest:

    An Invitation to Computer Science, Java Version
    G. Michael Schneider and Judith L. Gersting
    Brooks/Cole Pub, 2000. ISBN 0-534-37488-3
    The Essential Guide to Computing: The Story of Information Technology
    E. Garrison Walters
    Prentice Hall PTR, 2001. ISBN 0-13-019469-7

    Online Resources

    This course will take advantage of the Internet and the departmental network in many ways.

    COMP 150 Web Page: www.cs.luc.edu/~mhg/comp150/

    With the exception of the first day's printed handouts, most of the information for this course will be distributed only by means of the course web page. This web site will contain all assignments, a schedule of lectures and detailed lecture notes, and links to many other sources of information.

    Discussion Group

    In order to create more of a class community and to foster further discussions involving computer science, we will be maintaining an online discussion group which allows all members of the class to post messages to the community. We encourage messages related directly to course material or to more general issues of Computer Science. Questions of a general nature can be answered by the instructor or other students. The instructor will also use this discussion group for announcements throughout the semester.

    Email with Instructor

    Questions or comments of an individual nature should be emailed directly to the instructor. Topics suitable for email include questions about grades received, requests for an appointment, requests for help on an assignment.

    Graded Work

    The components of an overall course ``percentage'' will be calculated based on the following assigned work:

    Assignments (50%)

    There will be a total of 11 weekly assignments during the course, each of which involves some amount of work on a computer. We will ignore your lowest of the eleven grades, and the remaining ten assignments will contribute to this portion of the grade.

    Each assignment will contain one or more practice problems which are not to be turned in and which can be discussed freely between classmates. The problems which are to be submitted for a grade, however, must be done entirely individually. A more complete explanation of our policy towards Academic Honesty is given below. Each week, we will also attempt to offer a small extra credit challenge to those interested.

    Assignments will generally be made available each Saturday and due one week from the following Monday. Our hope is that you approach the assignment as if it were due the following Saturday. In this way you will have worked through most of the assignment before the following Saturday. You will then have a final opportunity to discuss the assignment with the instructor in case you are having trouble, while still having a few more days to finalize your solutions and submit the assignment. The late policy is discussed below.

    All assignments for this course must be submitted electronically! The procedures will allow submission both from inside Loyola's lab or from any outside computer through the Internet. Details of the procedure will be discussed in Assignment 0.

    Exams (50%)

  • Midterm Exam 1 (15%), Saturday, 29 September 2001
  • Midterm Exam 2 (15%), Saturday, 27 October 2001
  • Final Exam (20%), Saturday, 8 December 2001
  • We expect the first two midterms to take approximately 45-60 minutes each. We will allow up to two hours for the completion of the final exam.

    Course Grades

    Letter grades will be based on each students overall percentage of awarded points according to the following formula.
    Student percentage above 90% will result in a grade of A or better.
    Student percentage above 86% will result in a grade of B+ or better.
    Student percentage above 80% will result in a grade of B or better.
    Student percentage above 76% will result in a grade of C+ or better.
    Student percentage above 70% will result in a grade of C or better.
    Student percentage above 66% will result in a grade of D or better.
    Student percentage above 60% will result in a grade of D or better.
    Student percentage below 60% will result in a grade of F.
    Any modification to this scale at the end of the year will be {\em in favor of the students}. That is we may later decide to award an A to a student who is slightly below the above cutoff, but we certainly will not take away an A from someone who is just above the cutoff.

    Academic Honesty

    Students are also expected to have read the statement on academic integrity available on page 14 of Loyola's ``Undergraduate Studies'' catalog. In addition to this statement, we wish to emphasize issues most relevant to this course.

    When it comes to learning and understanding the general material covered in class or the practice problems, you may certainly use other references and you may have discussions with other students in this class or other people from outside of this class.

    However, work which is submitted for this course must be entirely your own. You are in no way to discuss such assignments, nor are you to use or or search for direct or indirect assistance from any outside references. The only exception to the above rule is that you are free to have consultations with the instructor, teaching assistant, or members of the organized tutoring centers on campus. Even in these cases, if you receive significant help you should make sure to document both the source of the help as well as the extent.

    Any violations of the general Loyola policy or the policies outlined in this handout will be dealt with severely. Penalties will apply equally to a student who is aiding another student. Any such violations will result in a minimum penalty of a zero on the given assignment which cannot be dropped, and severe or repeated violations will result in an immediate failing grade in the course. Furthermore all incidents will be reported in writing to both the department and the appropriate dean.

    Late Policies

    All exams must be taken promptly at the required time. Requests for rescheduling an exam will only be considered if the request is made prior to the start of the exam, or else in an ``emergency'' situation with appropriate documentation.

    For assignments, we wish to allow students to continue to work comfortably beyond the official deadline when a little more time will result in more progress, while at the same time discourage students from falling several days behind pace and jeopardizing their success on future assignments. Our solution is the following late formula (some have suggested that we should offer extra credit to anyone who fully understands this formula).

    We will consider an assignment submission ``complete'' whenever any part of the assignment is last submitted or modified. Any assignment which is not complete promptly by its due date and time will be assessed a penalty based on the formula S = R * e-t/6, where S is the grade given, R is the grade the work would have gotten if turned in on time and t is the amount of time (in days or fractions thereof) the work was late. Thus, the value of a late assignment decays exponentially, with a half-life of about four days. Examples: work turned in 1 hour late will receive over 99% of original credit, work turned in 6 hours late will receive 96% credit, one full day late receives less than 85%, work turned in four days late will receive 51%. This penalty will only be waived in an ``emergency'' situation with appropriate documentation.

    Computing at Loyola

    Departmental Network and Labs

    Each student in this class will be given an account on our department's computer network, based on a given User ID and password combination. Students may develop their assignments on computer at Loyola or elsewhere, however the department account will be used in submitting assignments electronically and retrieving grades.

    For those who do wish to use our department labs as a regular work place, this account allows use of machines in our department labs in rooms DH340, DH341 or DH342. With each account, a student is given a home directory (H:\MyHome) in which files can be stored throughout the semester. Information on the lab policies, including a schedule of open hours, is available at www.cs.luc.edu/technology.html.

    Finally, each user can send and receive email from this account. As an example, a student with User ID ``aturing'' receives email sent to aturing@cs.luc.edu.

    Computer Center's run by division of Information Services

    Other students may prefer to use some of the more general Loyola labs maintained by Information Services. These labs are convenient due to their locations across all Loyola campuses, as well as availability at times when our department labs are either scheduled for a class or filled with other working students.

    Most of the software available on our department network is also available on the IS network. Please note, however, that the UserID/Password for your CS department account is unrelated to the account you may have on the campus-wide network.

    To faciliate CS students working in IS labs, we have worked with IS to allow students access to the CS department NT file system from any of the IS labs at Loyola. This includes direct access to the submit directory as well as your CS home directory. (Note: the drive letters used will not be mapped to the same letters as on our department machines.) Instructions can be found at: www.cs.luc.edu/lab/faq/atIT/itlabs.html

    comp150 Class Page
    Last modified: 15 September 2001