(Latest Revision -- August 29, 2004)

Course Description
for Computer Programming I: CS 1500/1502

TERM: Fall 2004

40560 CS 1500 002 Computer Programming I Lec 3.0 MW 11:15-12:13 P-114 
40563 CS 1502 002 Computer Programming I Lab 0.0  F 11:15-12:13 P-114 
(Although "Lab" is officially scheduled in P-114 on fridays, we will actually go to P-288 for many labs - mostly on mondays.)

INSTRUCTOR: John Sarraille, Professor of Computer Science

OFFICE: P-286, Professional Schools Building (aka DBH), Cal State Stanislaus

OFFICE HOURS: M-Tu-W 09:00-11:00; or by appointment
(Office hours commence on Sept 07 and end on Dec 09.)

E-MAIL: john@ishi.csustan.edu

HOMEPAGE: http://www.cs.csustan.edu/~john/js.html


The main aim of this course is to train you to do computer programming. You will be learning the C++ programming language, but that is only a part of the course. Once a person learns to program, it's no big deal to learn a new programming language. It takes only a few weeks.

The real objectives are to acquire good problem solving skills, algorithm design techniques, and skill in choosing ways to represent data. It will not be easy to gain these objectives, but you will do well if you are patient and persistent.

Some other course goals are to learn the basics of program testing and debugging, to find out how to use the Sun Ultra workstations effectively, to gain facility with the JOVE text editor, to develop self-confidence and self-reliance, and to acquire the ability to cope with the inherent uncertainties and complexities of today's computing systems.


DWH: Programming and Problem Solving with C++ (3rd edition); by Nell Dale, Chip Weems, and Mark Headington; published by Jones and Bartlett, 2002; ISBN 0-7637-2103-4

Andersen: Just Enough Unix (4th edition); , by Paul K. Andersen; published by McGraw-Hill, 2003; ISBN 0-07-246377-5


We will cover most of chapters 1-12 in Programming and Problem Solving with C++ (3rd edition), (For short, I'll refer to that book as "DWH" -- the intials of the authors.) We will also cover most of parts I-VII of "Andersen."

See the schedule for a complete list of weekly reading assignments.


This class is C++ oriented. You will be learning C++. You will be doing all your programming labs and assignments in C++.


For technical reasons, students in this class are required to sign up separately for CS 1500 (lecture) and CS 1502 (lab). In fact, each class session is a mixture of lab and lecture. Each day we do whatever we need to do: lab, lecture, or some of both. Often we will meet in the CS department laboratory (P-288) for one of the class hours in a week, and meet in the lecture room for the other two class hours. Many variations are possible, so check the class schedule frequently.

My expectation is that everyone will attend all the classes and keep current with everything that is happening in class. I will keep track of attendance.


Your course grade depends on three components: laboratory, solo programming, and examination.

The laboratory component consists of work you do with a lab partner in the CS lab. You run commands, run applications, and write small programs. To show that you did the work properly, you turn in listings of source code, scripts showing your work sessions, listings of command outputs, and such. Your score on the laboratory component of the course will be the average of your scores on the individual labs.

The solo programming component consists of programming that you do all by yourself. Your score on the solo programming component of the course will be the average of your scores on the individual solo programs.

The examination component consists of several quizzes and an optional comprehensive final examination. Each quiz and exam will cover topics from lab, reading assignments, programming assignments, and lecture. Your score on the examination component of the course will be the maximum of
  1. the average of your quiz scores, and
  2. your score on the final examination.
To pass CS 1500 you must: If you meet all the criteria above, your course grade will be derived from the weighted average score of your course components. If the average is 91-100 you will receive an 'A' in the course; 81-90 earns a 'B'; 71-80 gets a 'C'; and 61-70 is a 'D'.

You don't have to take the final examination. You can take it if you want to try to raise your score on the examination component.

There will be no make-up quizzes.


Please feel free to seek my help in office hours, lab, or lecture if you are having difficulty making progress on any programming problem. You are entitled to this service. Students need this kind of help from time to time, so please have the wisdom to use it when you need it. Also please get started early on assignments and come early for the help you need. I'll listen and do what I reasonably can to help.

Experience has shown that when students submit late assignments and professors tolerate it, chaos sets in very rapidly.

You will be penalized 10% per calendar day for a late programming assignment up to a limit of 6 days, or up until such time that I show a solution to the class, whichever comes first. Beyond that limit your submission will not be accepted, and that will mean that you do not pass CS 1500 this term.

Days means calendar days -- including weekend days and holidays.

We can discuss due dates in class and I may be willing to move a due date back if doing so can be justified to my satisfaction. If you are uncomfortable with a scheduled due date, please bring this to my attention as soon as possible, and not at the last minute. (It's usually a good idea for class members to try to work out some consensus before bringing the subject up with me.)

If you are not finished with an assignment on the due date, please turn in what you have done, and write me an e-mail explaining that you are turning in an assigment that you have not completed. (It is possible to get up to about half credit for a partially-done programming assignment, depending on the quality of the work and the circumstances.)


If you think you are going to be unable to take a test or turn in an assignment on time due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control, then let me know at the very earliest time possible. I'll try to make some fair arrangement with you.


I hope to be accessible, helpful, and responsive to your needs during this course. You can do well, and I want that.

To optimize your likelihood of success, participate fully in the class: Attend all the classes. Faithfully listen and take notes. Finish all assignments on time. Review your notes before each class. Reply to questions or remarks addressed to you. Ask questions. When you are not getting anywhere on some problem, and it's not the kind of thing you can get resolved in class, seek my help during office hours.

Do all this, even when things are not going well. And have fun!


Feel free to discuss anything about the lab assignments with your lab partner or anyone else. Feel free to give or accept any kind of help on these assignments, including the sharing of actual C++ code. (Of course, you are likely to learn more if you try to do what you can on your own.)

You must treat the solo programming assignments in a very different manner: On the other hand, when your purpose is to clarify the meaning of solo program specifications, you may discuss solo assignments with other people, including your classmates, as much as you like. You may also freely discuss the relative merits of various general approaches to designing and engineering solutions to solo programming assignments.

In your solution code for a solo program, you are permitted to use segments of code or algorithms that you find in:
  1. any printed material available for student check-out in our library,
  2. our course texts, or
  3. any programming textbooks to which you have access.
You are permitted to share material of type 1-3 above with other members of this class.

You may ask me for help and hints on solo assignments. I prefer that you ask questions in class, so that everyone has a chance to benefit from the discussion.

During quizzes and exams, you are allowed to come forward and ask me to clarify the meaning of a test question. It will be up to me to decide how to answer, or whether to answer at all. I will tell the members of the class any new information that arises from such an exchange. Aside from that, you must write quizzes and exams without help from other people and without the help of any written materials that I have not explicitly approved.

I will withhold credit if there is compelling evidence that you did not follow the rules spelled out above.


Many course documents, assignments, supplements, and so on will be made available via the world wide web. To access the on-line CS 1500 materials, you can open the URL


from any web browser on any computer connected to the campus network or Internet.

Also, there is a miscellaneous collection of information that you will probably need to make use of from time to time. It is located here:


COMPUTER EQUIPMENT -- SUN Ultra Workstations:

Each of you will need an account that gives you access to all the Computer Science Department Sun Ultra 10 and Sun Ultra 30 computers. These computers have been specially networked so that you get the same environment, including home directory of your personal files, regardless of which Sun Ultra you log on to.

You will learn much of what you need to know about the Ultras during our lab sessions.

The Ultra's are located in the Computer Science Lab: P-288. P-288 is in the Professional Schools Building (also known as Demergasso-Bava Hall, or DBH), in the northwest corner of the second floor of the north wing.

I will test the programs that you write for this course by compiling and executing them on a Sun Ultra. Therefore you must write programs that will compile and run without errors on these machines. If you are accustomed to a different computing environment, you will have to be careful about this.

Generally, the Ultra's are available for access and use on a 24-hour basis. However the campus computer labs do not remain open at all hours. Therefore sometimes network and modem connections will be the only means available for connecting to the Ultra's. For more information about network and modem connections, see the sections below entitled "MODEM CONNECTIONS" and "INTERNET CONNECTIONS". Also see the document entitled Gaining Access to Workstations in the Computer Science Department Network .

P-288 will be open basically mid-morning until about 5:00 p.m.. During these times, you can be physically present in the CS Department Lab while using a department computer. This can be very beneficial because you then have the opportunity to work and communicate with fellow students and members of the faculty.

Due to budgetary constraints beyond our control, the hours during which P-288 is open are subject to change on short notice. Please check the postings of the lab hours at the entrance to the lab and in the "message of the day" that is printed on your screen when you login to your Sun Ultra account.

Incidentally, the CS Department often seeks volunteers and work-study students to help keep the lab open longer hours. For further information, ask our system administrator, Julie Gorman: P-288C, 667-3273, julie@eos.csustan.edu.

While you are in the CS Lab, you will be able to access Sun Ultra workstations by logging in directly at the console, or by using a remote login program such as "ssh" from some other kind of computer in the lab, such as a Macintosh or a "Wintel".

Remote login makes it possible for many people to use a given workstation simultaneously. We will have a demonstration of how to perform remote login. (You can probably get help just by asking someone in the lab.) You can also access the Sun Ultra's via an "ssh" connection from most any computer on the campus local network, such as those in P-107, P-120, L-125 and L-145. Generally those labs are open during the same hours that the campus library is open. Please check postings at the labs or ask lab personnel in order to get further information about lab hours. Lab assistants (wearing red vests) should be able to show you how to do a remote login to a CS Department workstation.


You can make a modem connection to the campus network by calling this local Turlock number: 669-9834. At one time it was possible to call toll-free from Modesto (523-2173), Merced (723-2810) and Stockton (467-5399). Unfortunately I think it was announced that the availability of this service was discontinued due to the recent cuts to the CSU budget. Check with the Call Center of the Office of Information Technology: (L-150, 209-667-3687, OIT_Call_Center@csustan.edu)


You may want to purchase Internet connectivity. This is not a requirement and not necessary for success, but it can be a great time-saver and a convenience once you have gotten past the hurdle of setting everything up.

There are several Internet service providers (ISP's) that serve this area. Chances are that members of the class can make good recommendations. We can devote some time to this topic in class.

One can find many ISP's by using the site: http://thelist.internet.com. ISP's also advertise in the yellow pages and in newspapers.

If you get an Internet connection, make sure you get remote login and file transfer software. This will allow you to log in from home to your computer account at the college and also transfer files back and forth. For more information about this, read the remote login and file transfer help sheet. For additional information, ask me or the CS Lab Administrator, Julie Gorman.