(Latest Revision -- 08/23/2004)

Course Description
for Computer Programming II: CS 2500

TERM: Fall 2004


40571 CS 2500 001 Computer Programming II Lec 3.0 TR 12:55-13:54 P-114
40572 CS 2502 001 Computer Programming II Lab 0.0 TR 13:55-14:22 P-114
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


You have to be adequately prepared for taking CS 2500. Check with me if you have not passed Computer Programming I (CS 1500), or the equivalent.


The objectives of this course are the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to solve programming problems correctly, efficiently, independently, and on time. It will not be easy to attain those objectives, but I think most students can do well if they are patient and persistent.

Some specific goals are to learn about simple data structures, common algorithms, analyzing the efficiency of algorithms, designing programs that are easy to check and maintain, the basics of testing and debugging, self-reliance, and dealing with the inherent uncertainties and complexities of today's computing systems.

Other aims of the course include learning to use advanced C++ features such as structures, classes, pointers, arrays, and files; learning to use Sun workstations effectively; and gaining facility with jove, a plain-text editor that is useful for editing and debugging program source files.


You should also consider getting a more comprehensive Unix book. Here are a couple of possibilities: COURSE COVERAGE: See the schedule for weekly reading assignments.


For technical reasons, students in this class are required to sign up separately for CS 2500 (lecture) and CS 2502 (lab). However, each class session will be some mixture of laboratory and lecture activities. Mainly the purpose of class sessions is twofold: to help students absorb the readings and related material, and to help them complete the programming assignments.

Almost every time class meets, whatever day it is, we will be in the classroom. Always come to the classroom for class unless I have previously announced that we will meet in the computer lab P-288.

You are responsible for doing programming assignments outside of class time. Doing the assignments can fill up a lot of hours. To keep the pace, you will need to "work smart." In any case, expect to spend up to ten hours per week on this class, in addition to class time.

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 grade will be based on two main components: examinations and programs.

There will be quizzes, an optional comprehensive final examination, and programming problems.

To pass the course you must: If you meet the conditions above I will compute your grade by giving a weight of 50% to your score on the examination component and a weight of 50% to your programming assignment average.

Your score on the examination component of the course will be the maximum of
  1. your score on the final examination, and
  2. the average of your quiz scores

There will be no make-up exams or early exams.

Get started early on assignments. That way, if you run into difficulty, you can seek help in class and/or office hours in a timely fashion.

I will assess a late penalty of 10% credit per calendar day (including holidays and weekends) on assignments turned in between one and five days late. I will not accept assignments late more than 5 days.

We can have class discussions about quiz dates and program due dates. I may be willing to change some of these dates. If you want a change in the schedule, please bring this up (in class, preferably) 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 cannot finish an assignment on time, please turn in whatever you have done. It may be possible to get up to about half credit on an unfinished assignment, depending on the quality of the work and the circumstances.

To "survive" in a class like this, you may need to put aside "foolish pride," stubbornness, and/or shyness. If you find yourself unable to make progress on some aspect of an assignment, seek help from me promptly. You may speak to me after class or during my office hours. You may send me a message by e-mail. You are entitled to get help this way. Please don't subvert your chances of success by continuing to "spin your wheels" until it is too late.

I'm sorry but if you fail to turn in the final version of just one program by the fifth day after the due date, you fail CS 2500. You will not be allowed to continue in the class. I will not make exceptions.


I will require you to design each program using a top-down design methodology, modular data structures, and information hiding. You will use the top-down method to design the instructions of your program, the data structures, the documentation, and the test data. A programmer using the top-down method develops the program level-by-level. The programmer starts with a very simple first-level program design, and works down, step-by-step, to more detailed levels.

I will sometimes require you to turn in two or three levels of your programming assignments so that I can check your progress in creating your top-down design. If so I will assign some fraction of the total credit for the program to each level. For example there might be a scheme like this:

 01%     level two program
 02%     level three program
 07%     final version of program
 10%     total credit for the program

Our text is C++ oriented, and I will present most code samples in C++. If you want to do a programming assignment in a different computer language, basically I am willing to accept that, but you must speak with me in advance and reach an agreement on some ground rules.


I hope to be accessible and helpful to you during this course. I want you to get as much as possible out of it.

Remember, we are a team and you are a key player. Read everything I assign as soon as possible, and read with care. Read difficult material more than once! Attend all classes. Pay close attention. Take notes. Review your notes before each class. Get started on assignments early. Do a little each day, and bring your questions and problems concerning these assignments to class each day.

Finish assignments and reading on time. Do what you can to keep class discussion lively and to the point. Reply to questions. Ask questions and make remarks if you feel you have something to add, or if you feel something needs to be explained better.


Assignments: When your purpose is to clarify or to reach an understanding of program specifications, you may discuss programming 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.

You are permitted to use algorithms or segments of code from
  1. any printed material available for student check-out in our library,
  2. our course text, or
  3. any programming textbooks to which you have access.
You are permitted to share such material, as described in 1-3 above, with other members of this class.

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

On the other hand, you may not give other members of this class programming code that you composed (made up).

You may not accept program code or accept help from any source that is not specifically listed above as permitted.

Exams: You must write your exams with no discussion or help from anyone. The one exception is that you are allowed to come forward and ask me to clarify the meaning of a test question, if you wish. It will be up to me to decide how to answer, or whether to answer at all. I will tell the class any new information that arises from such an exchange.

Penalties: If there is compelling evidence that an assignment, quiz or test was not done according to the above criteria, I will withhold credit.


I will make course documents, assignments, supplements, and so on available on the world wide web. To access the on-line CS 2500 materials, you can open the URL:


There is also a miscellaneous collection of information that you may want to use from time to time. It is located here:



You need to have an account that gives you access to all the Computer Science Department Sun Ultra 10 and Sun Ultra 30 computers. The computers have a network file system, which means you get the same home directory and "computing environment," regardless of which Sun Ultra you log on to.

If you don't have access to the Ultra's or you aren't sure whether you have access, then let me know right away.

We will have a special lab session to teach you what you need to know in order to use the Ultra's for class assignments.

The Ultra's and other CS computers are located in the Computer Science Lab: P-288. P-288 is in the Professional Schools Building (aka Demergasso-Bava Hall), in the extreme northwest corner 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, CS Department workstations are available for access and use on a 24-hour basis. However campus computer labs do not remain open at all hours. Therefore sometimes network and modem connections are the only means available for connecting to a workstation. For more information about network and modem connections, see the sections below entitled "MODEM CONNECTIONS" and "INTERNET CONNECTIONS". Also see the course document entitled loginDirections.

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 staff and 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, in the "message of the day" that is printed on your screen when you log on to your Sun Ultra account, or check on the web..

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 , (209) 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 remote login software (ssh) from some other kind of computer in the lab, such as a Macintosh or a "Wintel".

Ssh makes it possible for many people to use a given workstation simultaneously. We will have a demonstration of how to get an ssh connection. (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 the labs: 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 ssh 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.