CS 2150: Program and Data Representation: Course Syllabus

Go up to the CS 2150 page (md)

Fall 2022


Course Info

Course Description: This course will introduce you to program and data representation from high level concepts to machine level implementation. Data structuring techniques and the representation of data structures during program execution are discussed, as are operations and control structures and their representation during program execution. Representations of numbers, arithmetic operations, arrays, records, recursion, hashing, stacks, queues, trees, graphs, and related concepts are also covered.

Availability: It is important to me to be available to my students, and to address your concerns. If your concern can’t be addressed during the lecture periods or via a support request (not yet ready), then please fill out a support request (not yet ready) to find a time to (virtually) meet. But with 500 students in the class, and only one instructor, I will not be able to manage everybody emailing their concerns – hence the use of the support request (not yet ready) system.

If you have any comments on the course - what is working, what is not working, what can be done better, etc. - I are very interested in hearing about them. There is an anonymous feedback tool through Collab that you can use, or e-mail.

Prerequisites: Both of:

Course Objectives: Students who complete the course will:

Grades: Grades will be calculated by the following formula:

The course grades are LIKELY to follow the standard decade curve: 90 and above is an A of some sort (A-, A, or A+), 80 and above is some sort of a B, etc. This is not a guarantee, as the final determination of the course grades is goign to depend on how the grading works out.

Class recordings: Class sessions for this course will be recorded. Recordings will be available only to the instructor(s) and students enrolled in the class, including those who cannot attend the live sessions. Recordings will be deleted when no longer necessary. Recordings may not be reproduced, shared with those not enrolled in the class, or uploaded to other online environments. Students who are not comfortable with participating in a recorded discussion session should contact the instructor to request an alternate assessment activity. Students in a class are prohibited from recording of any kind unless authorization is obtained from the instructor.

Learning the material: We provide a number of ways for you to learn the material. You do not need to utilize all of them – and, quite frankly, we don’t expect you to use all of them, as that would take up way too much time. You should figure out what works best for you, and then utilize those.

Development Environment: In this class, you may NOT use Microsoft Visual Studio, any other Microsoft Windows-based development environment, or any IDE (Integrated Development Environment), for any reason. This includes, among others, Eclipse, Netbeans, Xcode, Geany, Visual Studio, and Atom. This applies to program development - obviously, you can use MS Office to edit text documents. The purpose behind this rule is to introduce you to the Unix environment - thus, all course work in this class is to be done in a Unix environment (typically Linux or FreeBSD). We will discuss how to access and/or install these environments in the beginning of the course. In order to take this course, you agree to sign an honor pledge that states that you will NOT use a Microsoft Windows-based development environment or IDE for any course work.

Disabilities: The University of Virginia strives to provide accessibility to all students. If you require an accommodation to fully access this course, please contact the Student Disability Access Center (SDAC) at (434) 243-5180 or sdac@virginia.edu. If you are unsure if you require an accommodation, or to learn more about their services, you may contact the SDAC at the number above or by visiting their website at http://studenthealth.virginia.edu/student-disability-access-center/faculty-staff.

Special Circumstances: Students with special circumstances (athletics, extra time required on exams, final exam conflicts, LNEC considerations, etc.) need to let me know at least one week prior to when said accommodation will be needed.

Textbooks: Due to the high cost of textbooks, and their relative low quality, there will be no recommended nor required textbooks this semester. Instead, there will be selected Readings (md) that can be used in lieu of a recommended textbook.

Exams: There will be two midterm exams held during laboratory sessions (combined worth 30% of the final grade) and one final exam (worth 30% of the final grade). Note that we hope (but do not guarantee!) to have the first exam returned before the SEAS drop date.


Under NO circumstances will anybody be allowed to take the final exam early.

You may submit lab questions for regrading within 10 days of when they are returned to you (less time for the final due to the end of the semester); this is done via the [course tools][41]. However, you MUST be aware of the Frivolous regrade policy (md), which will be strictly enforced.

Laboratories: There will be 11 or 12 programming labs this semester, and they constitute 45% of your grade. Note that if the number of labs changes, the respective weights for each lab will also be adjusted and announced in class. The total weight of the labs for the final grade will remain 45%, unless a change in the course grading criteria (as above) is announced in class. The majority of the work in this class is through the labs – there are no separate homework assignments. The labs have different late policies, which will be specified in more detail in the first lab. Your lab submission must compile for you to receive any credit – this is an advanced programming class, and under no circumstances should you be submitting code that does not compile - we have a page on compilation issues (md) to help you if you cannot get your code to compile. Note that the entire assignment will receive zero credit if even one part of it does not compile.

All assignments will be submitted through Gradescope, which can be accessed through Collab. Each assignment has 3 dates: an open date (when you can start submitting the assignment), a due date (when it is due), and a close date (the last point that you can submit the assignment); the close date is 24 hours after the due date, due to the late policy (which is explained in lab 1 (md)). Note that the assignment will be available much earlier, typically Wednesday or Thursday of the week before it is due. The dates are listed for the week of the lab - the lab week starts on a Sunday and ends on a Saturday.

The various dates: open dates, due dates, and close dates, are listed on the Lab due dates page (md)

Please note, however, that there are a number of rules that we will strictly follow:

Computing resources: There are two specific computer resources needed for this course:

Attendance: Attendance is highly recommended but not required in either lecture or lab. Unless you have received special permission, you cannot attend labs that you are not enrolled in due to space constraints. Please see the first set of lecture slides for more information about the lab schedule. In particular with regards to the fact that there is a lab the week of Thanksgiving break (in fall semesters) or the weeks before and after spring break (in spring semesters).

Professionalism: We are all adults, and should act like such. Acting in an unprofessional manner that disrupts the class will first incur a stern talking-to. After that, a grade penalty may be assessed. Examples include: disrupting class, trolling people on Piazza, abusing the support request (not yet ready) system, etc. This is meant to keep people from repeatedly disrupting class; we are not trying to be super strict on this. While we generally expect to give a warning prior to any other action, infractions that go well beyond unprofessional may incr penalties with no warning.

Honor Policy: There have been a large number of honor violations in this class and other low-level CS courses recently. Outside the normal UVa honor policy rules, we have these additional rules:

  1. If you are looking at another student’s source code for ANY reason (including code from a student from a previous semester), you are in violation of the honor policy. You may look at another student’s source code after the program has been submitted by BOTH parties.
  2. If you try to hack my submission system, you will be brought up on honor charges, failed for the course, and I will personally call the police. This includes any sort of hacking such as: fork bombs to crash the system, opening up network sockets, looking around the file system, etc. The system has capabilities to detect and/or prevent these from happening, and a file cannot be removed once it is submitted (you can re-submit a file, but the old one is still saved). An honest mistake on a program, or a program crash, is not what we are talking about here - instead, an intentional and malicious hacking attempt is what will bring down the wrath.
  3. There are multiple midterm periods where students take exams, with a break between the the individual section times. Discussing the exam with a student who has not taken it is a violation of the honor policy.
  4. Releasing your homework online, including a public github repository, is an honor violation
  5. Using a computer to generate your assembly code, instead of writing yourself, is an honor violation (this includes using the compiler to generate assembly code for submission, although not for including in a report)
  6. We realize we should have to say this, but we will not sign more than one conscientious retraction for a given student within one semester.
  7. We thought this was obvious also, but apparently we have to say it: you can’t submit somebody else’s code as the main part of the assignment and claim it is valid because you cited that code. The point of the labs is for you to do the work, not for you to do a Google search.

Any honor violation or cheating will be referred to the honor committee, and will result in an immediate failure for the course, regardless of the outcome of the honor trial or your other grades. No exceptions! I am very strict on this, and one have successfully raised honor charges against students in the past due to violations of this policy.

Your Well Being: The Engineering School proudly serves as a safe space for its students and aims to promote their well being. If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or isolated, there are many individuals here who are ready and wanting to help. In addition to the course instructors, you can seek help through the Engineering Undergraduate office (Thornton A122), or Alex Hall (aec5d, 924-7601) who is the assistant dean of students for the Engineering school.

Alternatively, there are also other University of Virginia resources available. The Student Health Center offers Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) for its students. Call 434-243-5150 (or 434-972-7004 for after hours and weekend crisis assistance) to get started and schedule an appointment. If you prefer to speak anonymously and confidentially over the phone, call Madison House’s HELP Line at any hour of any day: 434-295-8255.

If you or someone you know is struggling with gender, sexual, or domestic violence, there are many community and University of Virginia resources available. The Office of the Dean of Students, Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA), Shelter for Help in Emergency (SHE), and UVA Women’s Center are ready and eager to help. Contact the Director of Sexual and Domestic Violence Services at 434-982-2774.

Reasonable Modifications: Try as we might, we cannot predict the future. Yet. There may be situations that arise during the semester that are not adequately covered by this syllabus, and which will require us to make adaptations or modifications during the semester. We do not expect this to happen often. And if we knew what types of situations these would be, we would change professions to investing and fortune telling.