(Latest Revision -- 02/15/2004)

Course Description
for Data Structures + Algorithms: CS 3100

TERM: Spring 2004

20977 #CS 3100 001 Data Structures and Algorithms Lec 3.0 MWF 0905-1003 P-103
INSTRUCTOR: John Sarraille, Professor of Computer Science

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

OFFICE HOURS: MWF 10:10-11:10, 12:15-13:15, or by appointment

(Office hours commence on Monday, Feb 16, 2004 and end on Friday May 21, 2004.
There will be no classes or office hours during Spring Break: April 12-16.)

E-MAIL: john@ishi.csustan.edu

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


You have to be adequately prepared to take CS 3100. Check with me if you have not passed Computer Programming II (CS 2500), or the equivalent.


The highest aim of this course is for you to learn how to choose and design good abstract data structures and good algorithms for computer programs. To work toward that aim we will study the abstract data structures and algorithms that are widely-known to be "good" for common programming problems.

To understand what makes one data structure or algorithm good for performing a given task, and another not as good, it is necessary that we know how to analyze the potential efficiency of an algorithm. Therefore, analysis of algorithms is a course objective too.

It is also quite important that you take on and complete challenging programming assignments -- ones that require you to bring to bear considerable organizational and problem-solving skill. Among other things, this will demand that you be proficient using our Unix computers and campus network.

Finally, it must be said that "surviving" this course is an important objective for computer science majors! Passing CS 3100 is a big milestone on the road to acquiring a CS degree. What you learn here will be applied in many other CS courses.


Carrano/Prichard: Data Abstraction and Problem Solving with C++: walls and mirrors, 3rd edition ; written by Frank M. Carrano and Janet J. Prichard ; published by Addison-Wesley, 2001 ; ISBN 0-201-74119-9


Andersen: Just Enough Unix, 4th edition ; written by Paul K. Andersen ; published by McGraw Hill, 2003 ; ISBN 0072463775


You should also consider getting a more comprehensive Unix book. Here are a couple of possibilities: COURSE COVERAGE:

We will carefully work through most of chapters 5, and 8-13: recursion, advanced C++ topics, algorithm efficiency and sorting, trees, tables and priority queues, advanced implementation of tables, and graphs.

See the schedule for weekly reading assignments.


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.

Students are responsible for working on 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 class sessions 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 five quizzes, an optional comprehensive final examination, and five programming problems.

To pass the course you must: If you meet the conditions above I will compute your grade by giving a weight of 60% to your score on the exam component and a weight of 40% to your programming assignment average.

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

I will give no make-up quizzes, late quizzes, or early quizzes.

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 3100. 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.


College is not for everybody. College demands that the student learn actively and independently.

Naturally college makes demands of the instructor too. I want you to get as much as possible out of this course. I hope to be accessible and helpful to you.

I expect all class members to participate in the class and to be well-informed about what is going on in class. I will keep track of attendance.

Read and study everything I assign as soon as possible. Read difficult material more than once! Attend all classes. Pay close attention. Take notes to help you think about things and remember things. Review your notes before each class. Get started on programming assignments early. Do a little of the work each day so that you remain familiar with the project and the work never piles up. Bring your questions and problems concerning 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 want me to explain something better.


Sometimes it can be difficult for the student to figure out the difference between 'cheating' and 'working smart.' Here is some guidance:

Programming Assignments: When your purpose is to clarify the meaning 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 to a programming assignment.

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, Tests: You must write your quizzes and 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 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 3100 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:



Each of you is supposed 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, so you get the same home directory, regardless of which Sun Ultra you log on to.

If you don't seem to have access to the Ultra's, then let me know right away, preferably by filling out and submitting this form .

Otherwise send me an e-mail or give me a piece of paper containing the answers to the questions on the form .

We'll 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 ssh or telnet from some other kind of computer in the lab, such as a Macintosh or a "Wintel".

Ssh and telnet make 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 P-106, 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.