[Dedicated to the memory of Professor Phil Dorin, teacher, mentor and friend.]
Introduction to data types, information structures, and algorithms. Topics include: collection classes and interfaces for sets, lists, stacks, queues, and dictionaries; implementation techniques such as arrays, linked lists, and efficient tree structures; introduction to computational complexity; elementary sorting; hashing.
This class uses Java for its concrete examples, homework, and exams. There will be some class time [but not much] spent reviewing Java fundamentals. You are more than welcome to ask for whatever clarification you need at any time, either in class or out. If you require additional practice with Java, there are any number of online tutorials which you can use to hone your skills. In addition you can use other professors' web sites [either LMU or other schools] and things like Code Academy, Kahn Academy, codingbat.com, and Stack Overflow to help you when you are stuck.
This course will be online, with a combination of synchronous and
asynchronous content. Lessons given during synchronous sessions will be recorded to support students in
different time zones. Some of the content will be distributed asynchronously via videos and readings
outside of classroom hours.
You will also need to have access to the BrightSpace course page
for section 3
or for section 4 for this class.
On those pages you will find the link to the Zoom room for the online class, as well as some video
information of course content and
how-to demonstrations. Your access to that site should be automatic; if you
have problems accessing it contact me or the LMU IT department for assistance.
Note that the course description above is not very specific.... there is more detail below!
Programming, like anything else, takes practice and perseverance. You must be willing to make mistakes, to learn how to fix them, and to learn not to be afraid of them. Humans [and now even computers!] learn by making mistakes, and this is the place to do so without fear.
When you finish the course, you will be able to:
In accordance with the LMU Credit Hour Policy, this 3-unit course will require 9 hours of work per week, which includes the time spent in class and lab sessions. Outside work will consist of homework and reading/study of textbook material.
In a nutshell, here's what you'll need to do to be successful in this course.
…and *I* promise to:
Course content will be delivered using a combination of lecture, discussion, problem-based learning, group work, projects, presentations, critiques, community-based learning, portfolios, etc. All work will be submitted using an individual GitHub repository. Use of GitHub and all other tools required for the course will be explained during class sessions.
There are three optional textbooks for this course:
Although none of these are required, they are quite useful because they contain all the concepts that will
be covered. The first book is a
golden oldie but in spite of the fact that it is somewhat dated, the
concepts in it are fundamental, and they are presented clearly so you can understand them rather easily.
The other two books will be used for ancillary material. They are VERY good for you to have on your own programmer's bookshelf in some form, because they are full of lessons to help you write high-quality and easily maintained code.
WORD OF WARNING: There exist two different textbooks with the same name.
Data Structures and Algorithms
in Java is apparently a popular name. We will be using the book by Robert Lafore, NOT the book by
Goodrich and Tamassia. The G&T book is very good, and it's in its 6th edition. However, the Lafore
book is the one we will be using. Actually, either one will work for the concepts we'll be
THE BOOKS ARE NOT AVAILABLE IN THE LMU BOOKSTORE. They are available at many other fine retail outlets, both online and brick-and-mortar. We will be using them for homework assignments, general reading and information, as well as for tutorials both in and out of the classroom.
Although we won't be covering the books in their entirety for this class, we will be using them as primary resources.
There is also a large number of other resources which can be used to "mine the gold" for related
information about data structures. The topic is a very broad field, which has been around for a
very long time, and touches almost every aspect of compjuter science. Any google search on
structures will turn up at least ten million links. Many of these will be shared during class, and
you will be required to find some information about specific topics on your own. You may even be
required to use the LMU library, [GASP!!] so be prepared!
A list of topics that are covered, and the approximate order and time frame in which they will be discussed, is available on the class notes page for this site.
Chapter readings from the text books and the dates by which these readings should be completed are listed below. Note that you should have read the chapter material prior to the first day of class of the week listed [except where noted], and you should be ready to discuss the text, ask questions about the concepts, and begin working with some of the implementations of the concepts in class. It is also a good idea to at least read (or preferably try) the exercises contained in [and at the end of] each chapter.
Here is the reading list:
All written homework assignments are due at the beginning of the class on the date they are due. Deviation from this process requires prior consent of the instructor. Every effort is made to ensure assignments, required deliverables, and due dates are prominently posted on these pages; it is your responsibility to make sure you know what is due and when it is due.
You may certainly turn assignments in late; I will happily accept them, but they will be reduced in
grade by one letter for each day they are late.
class day; an
A+ homework due on Thursday which is not
turned in until the following Tuesday will unfortunately only earn a failing grade, unless some prior
arrangements are made with the instructor due to illness or some major schedule conflict. However,
if you want to turn something in late, I'll still provide feedback even for assignments which have no
chance of any credit; I keep this policy to allow you to get the learning benefit of the assignment
even if you don't get a grade for it. My philosophy is that it is important for the students to know
the material, even if an assignment doesn't get the best marks.
All assignments must use proper American English and/or Programming Language spelling and grammar. Failure to do so will cost you points on every assignment, so get a spell-checker and a grammar checker, or find a friend who is proficient to proofread your work before it is submitted.
Other than these simple rules, there are no requirements for formatting, fonts, colors, diagrams, or anything else with respect to your homework assignments, other than good code craftsperson-ship.
There will be four homework assignments during the semester, due on the dates shown in the list below. Each assignment will contain several exercises to help give you experience with the concepts covered. Each of these assignments is detailed on a separate web page; they are available from the links below. Solutions will be provided after ALL the assignments are handed in. This policy provides a motivation for everyone to turn assignments in on time, since NO ONE gets the solutions until EVERYONE has submitted their work.
Homework will be done in
PAIRS. This does NOT mean
divide up the work so
that one person does one half and the other person does the other half. YOU MUST BOTH WORK ON
THE ENTIRE ASSIGNMENT TOGETHER! Failure to work on the entire assignment as a pair will cost you
one letter grade for that assignment.
Homework submissions will be done using GitHub. You will need to make an account if you don't have one
already, then create a repo under that account. Note that BOTH partners will need access to the repos so
that you can both access it. Name the repo
CMSI281_[your names] so that I can tell who is on the
team. In that repo, make four folders called
homework04 for the submissions.
Make sure the repo is a PRIVATE repo. I realize that this kind of flies in the face of the idea of "Open Source Culture"; however, the reason is that if the repo is public, I can't post updated evaluations since everyone will be able to see your results, which are Personally Identifiable Information [PII] and thus must be kept private.
MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE BOTH ABLE TO ACCESS THE REPO, AND MAKE SURE TO ALSO INVITE ME TO BE A CONTRIBUTOR so that I can upload your evaulation results.
There will be two quizzes during the semester, scheduled for Thursday of week 6 [2020-10-08]
and Thursday of week 12 [2020-11-19]. Note that they are interspersed with the homework assignments, such
that there will not be any homework assignment due on a test date. Note that due to popular convention,
quizzes will be known as
tests henceforth. Tests are cumulative.
There will be a final exam, which will be scheduled per the university's official exam schedule. Check the date and time on the schedule Final Exam schedule, which is easily available here. The final is a cumulative final, which covers everything for the entire semester.
Missed quizzes or tests: it is the responsibility of the student to provide adequate advance notice to the professor if a scheduled quiz or test is going to be missed. If you have a conflict in schedule which will cause a missed exam, please notify the professor at least two days in advance, if possible, to avoid a failing grade for that exam. Prior arrangements must be made in order for a make-up exam to be taken, since this situation requires the professor to create a second copy of the exam/quiz/test.
You will need access to a computer of some variety. You'll need this computer so as to participate in the in-class exercises, live-code sessions, and to do the homework/labwork.Also, since all classes this semester will be online, you will need to be able to use the
zoomconference application, which will require a camera, speakers/earbuds/headphones, and microphone. If you are unable to attend class at the regular online class hour, there will be videos posted in the course link on LMU's BrightSpace course management tool so that you can view them at another time. There are two sections of this course, and videos for both sections will be posted to both BrightSpace repositories so that everyone can see what happened in both sessions. I want everyone to get the benefit of the entire course, not just what happened in YOUR section!
You should download and install the Java Software Development Kit [JDK] from the Oracle Java website. For purposes of this class, just about any version later than Java 1.8 will work fine. Downloads of the latest version at this writing [Java 14] are available for all platforms here.
You will also need to install and use some sort of text editor into which you can type your code in ASCII/Unicode text-only form. You cannot use a word processor such as Microsoft Word or Mac's TextEdit [unless you configure it properly] or other word-processing software which puts in special characters that the Java compiler won't recognize. Several possible free tools are available, such as the following:
You can certainly use Notepad [on Windows] or TextEdit [on Mac, if properly configured for plain text] to edit your source code, but it can be difficult to collaborate with these tools due to the lack of line numbers at the left margin. Also, there is no syntax coloring in those editors. On Mac, in the terminal window you can use the "vi" editor, but it takes some getting used to and is rather an "acquired taste".
Another helpful tool is a testing framework. While test code, or at least skeletons for
test code, will be provided to you for some projects, there is a very nice free test framework called
J-Unit that can help you a lot. It is available for free download from
this site, which also has
complete instructions for setup and use, and some sample code to help you make sure it works. After you
have downloaded both files, follow the
Getting Started instructions at
Although attendance is not mandatory, it is in your own best interest to attend every class. Much of the material will be discussed in class, so counting on the book for all information which appears on tests will not provide you with complete information. In addition, there will be coding done during class time, and in-class exercises in small groups which you will miss out on if you are not there.
Obviously, if you skip too many classes, you will likely fail the class, since you will miss important parts of the material; this is a simple and self-fulfilling prophecy.
I want to emphasize that I care about your learning. As part of your learning process
in this class, I would like to invite you to evaluate yourself and participate
in your own assessment for the class. It is important to me to know how you are doing — for
example, are you understanding the concepts, are you able to put them into
real-life situations and examples, are you connecting and engaging with the
material, are the explanations clear to you. To that end you will be
periodically filling out a form called a
mud card [because there are some concepts in each
learning unit that might be
muddy]. We'll be working together to design them during a class
meeting early in the semester, and will then be using them several times during the remainder of the term
to help both you and me understand your progress and process.
Mud cards are available through the BrightSpace course page [for section 03] and BrightSpace course page [for section 04] for this class. The version that is currently posted is simply a placeholder, but feel free to take a look at it to get some ideas of things that you might want to contribute when we make the official version.
The class participation rubric appears with the grading stuff in the tables below.
There will be no extra credit given in this course.
Grades for the course are assigned according to the weighting factors shown in the tables below.
Final letter grades will be assigned based on the following scale:
|Percent||Letter||Rating and Achievement|
|91 - 100%||A / A-||Professional quality work; outstanding|
|81 - 90%||B+ / B / B-||Entry-level quality work; above average, shows extra effort and interest|
|71 - 80%||C+ / C / C-||Satisfactory work; expected with reasonable effort|
|61 - 70%||D||Substandard work; minimal effort shown|
|60 or less||F||Thank you for playing; see you next semester|
|Homework (total, all 4)||20%|
Class participation is assigned for each class meeting based on the following rubric:
|Class Participation Criteria||Value|
|Absent *without* prior notification/agreement of professor||0|
|Absent *with* prior consent/agreement of instructor||2|
|Present in class, and hopefully:|
Demonstrates excellent preparation from readings and other material.
Offers analysis, synthesis, and evaluation; puts together pieces of the discussion to develop new approaches that take the class further.
Also of note…
An incomplete will be granted only when the requesting student has done at least 80% of the coursework, and has at least a B average in the course work completed. This policy is standard LMU policy.
Leave of Absence/Withdrawal Policy:
Please read the policy in the University Bulletin.
All work is evaluated for both technical merit and quality of written and/or oral presentation.
Find yourself a good spelling and grammar checker, or a trusted human editor, if you
are having any difficulty with the rules of standard English language usage. Another excellent resource
is the Academic Resource Center, located
on the south side of Daum Hall. The center takes appointments, and also allows drop-in consultation
sessions, and they have a number of good benefits. Call (310) 338-2847 to schedule an appointment.
(For those that don't know, Daum Hall is the building where the LMU Security and Parking office used to
be. ARC is on the second floor.)
Another thing to remember is, your coding style is an important part of your assignment evaluations. I WILL NOT HESITATE to take points off for code that has hard-coded number
FAIR WARNING!!! DANGER WILL ROBINSON!!! FAIR WARNING!!!
In this class, documentation which is not of professional quality is no longer acceptable. Spelling, grammar, and internal document consistency all count and will cost you big-time if not correct! I will not hesitate to knock off a full letter grade on an otherwise perfectly correct assignment if there are egregious and/or numerous spelling/grammar errors. In addition, coding style will play a large part in determining the grade on the code for the homework/labwork. It is the job of each student to properly structure, comment, and indent, to select the proper names for variables, and to nothard-codevalues. NO MAGIC NUMBERS!
FAIR WARNING!!! DANGER WILL ROBINSON!!! FAIR WARNING!!!
Student feedback on this course provides valuable information for continued improvement. All students are expected to fairly and thoughtfully complete a course evaluation for this course. All course evaluations for the Seaver College of Science and Engineering are administered online through the Blue™ evaluation system. You will receive an e-mail notification at your Lion e-mail address when the evaluation form is available. You may also access the evaluation form on Brightspace during the evaluation period. A few minutes of class time will be reserved for you to complete a course evaluation near the end of the semester. Please bring a laptop, smart phone, tablet or other mobile device to class on this date so that you can access the online evaluation platform.
Loyola Marymount University is a community dedicated to academic excellence, student-centered education, and the Jesuit and Marymount traditions. As such, the University expects all members of its community to act with honesty and integrity at all times, especially in their academic work. Academic honesty respects the intellectual and creative work of others, flows from dedication and pride in performing one's own best work, and is essential if true learning is to take place. As an LMU Lion, by the Lion's Code, you are pledged to join the discourse of the academy with honesty of voice and integrity of scholarship.
Academic dishonesty will be treated as an extremely serious matter, with severe consequences that can range from receiving no credit for an assignment or test to failing the class, to expulsion.
LMU Honor Code and Process.The LMU Academic Honor Code and Process can be found at: https://academics.lmu.edu/honesty/.
unauthorized useand, therefore, prohibited
Students with special needs who require reasonable modifications, special assistance, or accommodations in this course should promptly direct their request to the Disability Support Services [DSS] Office. Any student who currently has a documented disability [ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Learning, Physical, or Psychiatric] needing academic accommodations should contact the DSS Office [Daum Hall 2nd floor, 310-338-4216] as early in the semester as possible. All discussions will remain confidential. Please visit http://www.lmu.edu/dss for additional information.
Students should also keep in mind that resources are available through the Library [https://library.lmu.edu] and Information Technology Services [https://its.lmu.edu]. The DSS Office can help students connect with the appropriate person at the Library and ITS.
As an LMU Lion, by the Lion's code, you are pledged to join the discourse of the academy with honesty of voice and integrity of scholarship and to show respect for staff, professors, and other students.
The following LMU documents are available to reference:
For more information on this or any other conduct issues, please refer to the Student Codes and Policies section in the Community Standards. You can find any and all other related data from the Office of Student Conduct & Community Responsibility web page. Also check the main Student Affairs Department Website.
Electronic Devices: Pretty easy — please turn off your cell phone ringer during class time. That's it for me, but there's more from LMU at this link.
The official LMU language for this is:
Please turn off and put out of sight all electronic devices (other than those and when allowed) during class-time. The interruptions and/or distractions they cause disrupt class and interfere with the learning process. Even if you are not on video, it's distracting to you.
Netiquette. Your instructor and fellow students need a safe, online learning environment. All opinions and experiences shared, no matter how controversial they may be perceived to be, must be respected in the spirit of academic discourse. You are encouraged to critique an idea but should not attack an individual. Working as a community of learners, we can build a respectful space for discourse. Below are some tips for good netiquette:
Students and faculty have a reasonable expectation for privacy in all learning spaces. Bimodal and remote learning can involve the use of synchronous video conferencing, asynchronous recorded lectures, live and online discussions, as well as online forums. In these venues, privacy is a priority for a safe learning environment. See Lion's code.
As a member of our online community, please follow these privacy guidelines:
Because of the nature of the class
delivery method during remote
zoom times we will
also take a look at a document which will serve as a guide for everyone in the class. This
Netiquette Document is published here
and on the
[Section 03] and
We will take a look at it during the first week of class and will work to make it agreeable to everyone
Public Safety can be reached 24/7/365 at 310.338.2893 [or x222 from a campus phone]. In a life-threatening emergency, call 911 first and then call Public Safety if possible. To report an incident, call Public Safety, submit an e-report on the Public Safety website or via the Rave Guardian mobile app, or visit Public Safety in Foley Annex. Review evacuation information and other safety tips posted in each learning space. Make sure you're registered to receive emergency alerts – confirm your contact information at lmu.edu/alert, and download Rave Guardian in the Apple or Google Play store. For more information and emergency preparedness tips, visit https://publicsafety.lmu.edu.To report an emergency or suspicious activity, contact the LMU Department of Public Safety by phone (x222 or 310-338-2893) or at the nearest emergency call box. In the event of an evacuation, follow the evacuation signage throughout the building to the designated safe refuge area where you will receive further instruction from Public Safety or a Building Captain.
For purposes of evacuating the building, our
safe area is the sunken gardens. There will be people
to guide you.
For more safety information and preparedness tips, visit http://www.lmu.edu/emergency.
Office hours are listed at the top of this syllabus page. I will make every effort to be available during
those hours, and if I cannot for some emergency reason, I'll make sure you all know about it in advance if
possible. Office hours, [due to the pandemic] will be held on zoom in my personal meeting room. A link to
office hours z'room is provided on the
BrightSpace course page.
I am also always available by e-mail at: my LMU mail address
There is a class slack channel on the LMUCS workspace, named
cmsi-286_fall2020. I post to that
channel with information at times, and it's a good place to ask/answer questions. It won't hurt you to
join! You can also DM me in that workspace.
Beginning in Fall 2020, the LMU CS department is trying a new communication method using Discord for our
virtual office hours, and as a virtual
Keck Lab environment. Feel free to join up there as well,
and post there with your colleagues in the department!
YOU MUST CHECK YOUR LION EMAIL ADDRESS OF RECORD. I will start
by sending all email blasts to everyone's
lion.lmu.edu email address. If you specifically provide
me with a preferred alternative email to use I will be happy to oblige. I create a distribution list
to which I send all general communications in addition to the slack channel, so it is important for me to
have an email address which you will check on a regular basis.
If necessary, this syllabus and its contents are subject to revision. Students are responsible for any changes or modifications announced or distributed in class, emailed to students' LMU Lion accounts or posted on LMU's course management system, Brightspace. If you are absent from an in-person or online class meeting, it is the your responsibility to check Brightspace [and/or the course website] and to check with the professor to see if you missed any important class announcements. Students should not rely on word-of-mouth from classmates.