Computer Science 111.002

Concepts of Computer Science

Spring 2008

MWF 2:00 PM - 2:50 PM

Engineering Building 1033

Instructor: Bill White

Engineering Building 3041


Office Hours:

MWF 9:00 AM-1:00 PM

TR 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

And By Appointment!



Course Goals and Description:

In response to the pervasive presence of computer technology in virtually every field of endeavor facing todays students, this course provides students with basic literacy in the science of computer technology. It includes coverage of hardware, operating systems, applications programming, data communications, database management, algorithm design and analysis, computability, and the social implications of technology. It emphasizes scientific literacy, the preparation of students for modern academic and professional disciplines, and ethical principles as applied to technological issues.

The emphasis in this course is on the analytic, problem-solving, and decision-making strategies that characterize the computer science discipline. It is not a software package training course, nor is it a programming course. Instead, this course provides an overview of the science of computers, from the principles behind the computing mechanisms (the mouse, the keyboard, the monitor, the processor, the memory, the network), through the algorithmic logic of software design and development, and up to the scientific foundations of those high-level applications to which this technology is applied (virtual reality, robotics, networking, etc.).


Twenty-five 10-point quizzes & homeworks

1-2 per week, covering reading material and lecture topics, with an emphasis on historical perspectives (how did we get where we are?), scientific principles (what mathematical and scientific foundations are being used?), technical applications (to what practical use is this scientific concept being applied?), and social implications (what impact does this have on society at large?).


Two 100-point topical papers

Each of these assignments will require you to read a recent computer science article (selected by the instructor), and to write a two-page summary and a two-page critique of the article. Each paper will be evaluated on the basis of its thoroughness (how complete is the coverage of the assigned topic?), its coherence (how well organized is the presentation of the material?), and its professionalism (how free from grammatical and spelling mistakes is the paper?).


Four 100-point exams

One non-comprehensive exam every 3-4 weeks.


One 150-point comprehensive final exam


Total points for course



Class Policies

Grading Scale


Academic Misconduct




Late Assignments













Violations of academic standards such as cheating or plagiarism will not be tolerated. Those determined to have violated those standards will be assigned a failing grade. (Students wishing to dispute the case should follow normal student grievance channels.)

The instructor will write letters to the appropriate Department Chairs and Deans, as well as to the Dean of Students, explaining the circumstances.

Attendance is strongly encouraged, but not required.

The material covered during lectures and class discussions shall form the basis for the exams and the projects.

There will be no work accepted late and no unexcused absences from exams. No makeup exams shall be given for unexcused absences. Exceptions are granted only for documented medical problems.

Occasionally, students find that a couple of major exams fall on the same date. To reschedule an exam under such circumstances, arrangements must be made with the instructor at least one week in advance.


Tentative Syllabus





Monday, 1/14

Chapter 1



Wednesday, 1/16

Chapter 1

History of Computer Science


Friday, 1/18

Chapter 2

Binary Values


Monday, 1/21


Martin Luther King, Jr., Day No Classes


Wednesday, 1/23

Chapter 3

Digital Arithmetic


Friday, 1/25

Chapter 3

Digital Text & Faxes

No-Grade Drop Deadline

Monday, 1/28

Chapter 3

Digital Audio & Video


Wednesday, 1/30

Chapter 4

Gates & Transistors


Friday, 2/1

Chapter 4

Digital Circuitry


Monday, 2/4

Chapter 5

CPUs & Memory


Wednesday, 2/6

Chapter 5

Input & Output Devices

Homework #1 Due

Friday, 2/8


Exam #1: Chapters 1-5


Monday, 2/11

Chapter 6



Wednesday, 2/13

Chapter 6

Top-Down Design


Friday, 2/15

Chapter 7

Machine Language


Monday, 2/18

Chapter 7


Homework #2 Due

Wednesday, 2/20

Chapter 7

Assembly Language


Friday, 2/22

Chapter 8


Monday, 2/25

Chapter 8

Imperative Programming Languages


Wednesday, 2/27

Chapter 8

Object-Oriented Programming

Homework #3 Due

Friday, 2/29

Chapter 9

Structured Data & Lists

Topical Paper #1 Due

Monday, 3/3

Chapter 9

Sorting & Searching

Homework #4 Due

Wednesday, 3/5

Chapter 9

Stacks, Queues, & Trees


Friday, 3/7


Exam #2: Chapters 6-9


Monday, 3/10


Spring Break No Classes


Wednesday, 3/12


Spring Break No Classes


Friday, 3/14


Spring Break No Classes


Monday, 3/17

Chapter 10

Operating Systems & Memory Management


Wednesday, 3/19

Chapter 10

Process Scheduling


Friday, 3/21

Chapter 11

File Systems


Monday, 3/24

Chapter 11



Wednesday, 3/26

Chapter 12

Database Management Systems

Homework #5 Due

Friday, 3/28

Chapter 12

Information Security & Encryption

W Drop Deadline

Monday, 3/31

Chapter 13

Artificial Intelligence & Neural Networks


Wednesday, 4/2

Chapter 13

Natural Language Processing & Robotics


Friday, 4/4

Chapter 14

Computer Graphics

Topical Paper #2 Due

Monday, 4/7

Chapter 14

Computer Security


Wednesday, 4/9


Exam #3: Chapters 10-14


Friday, 4/11

Chapter 15

Network Protocols


Monday, 4/14

Chapter 15

Internet & Domain Name System


Wednesday, 4/16

Chapter 16

Web Search Engines


Friday, 4/18

Chapter 16

Web Applications

WP/WF Drop Deadline

Monday, 4/21

Chapter 17

Hardware & Software Errors


Wednesday, 4/23

Chapter 17

Complexity & Computability


Friday, 4/25


Computer Ethics: Information Overload


Monday, 4/28


Computer Ethics: Diversity & Digital Divide


Wednesday, 4/30


Exam #4: Chapters 15-17 & Supplement


Friday, 5/2


Final Exam Review

Course Evaluations

Wednesday, 5/7


Final Exam: Comprehensive (12:00-1:40 PM)