CS 222, Computer Programming for Engineers (3 Units)

George Mason University
Course Description: Section 003 -- Spring 2016

Instructor: Prof. John Otten
Email address:  jotten2@gmu.edu    Office Phone: 703-993-1669
Office Location: ENGR, Room 5335; Office Hours: Tues/Thur 10:00-11:00 AM, Tues 3:00-4:00 PM
Class Day/Time: TR 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Class Location:  Innovation Hall, Room 215G
Online Class Syllabus: http://www.cs.gmu.edu/syllabus/syllabi-spring16/CS222OttenJ.html
Please note: Additional details will be posted to the course folder on Blackboard.

DESCRIPTION: CS 222 is a second course in computer programming, emphasizing programming concepts relevant to engineers. Topics include lower level language aspects and elementary data structures. Students are expected to have a basic understanding of the elements of programming in some high-level language. CS 222 will be taught using C, but students are not presumed to be familiar with C prior to this class. This course is intended as a terminal course in programming for engineers.

Prerequisite: C or better in CS 112.

REQUIRED TEXTBOOK:   Hanly and Koffman, "Problem Solving and Program Design in C," 7th ed., 2013.

Graduate Teaching Assistant:  Yongxin Wang  Email: ywang51@gmu.edu   Office Hours: Thur/Fri 9:30-12:30  in ENG 4456
Undergraduate Teaching Assistant: Abhishek Mathews    Email: amathew5@gmu.edu Office Hours: N/A


Class: Class lectures will be held on Tues/Thur, from 1:30-2:45 p.m. each day. Students are expected to attend all lectures each week and are responsible for all material covered during lecture.

Electronic Devices:  Use of electronic devices (including laptops, tablets, cell phones, etc.) is not permitted during class.  Please make sure all such devices are turned off or silenced while class is in session.

Programming Assignments: Programming assignments will be posted on Blackboard as they are assigned, and must be submitted on Blackboard by the assigned due date.  Rubrics will typically be provided for major assignments and should be consulted to be sure specifications are met.  If your program is incomplete, you may still submit it for partial credit. However, your code must run without obvious errors (even if not all functionality is present). Building your programs in a modular fashion and debugging as you go are crucial concepts in program development. Additionally, your TA relies on running your program as part of your grade determination.  Accordingly, any programming assignment that is submitted but either does not compile or has major errors when it is run will receive no more than 50% credit.

Students are expected to work independently outside of class to familiarize themselves with the GMU computer systems, to read and review all assigned materials and to complete all homework and programming projects.

Reading: Students are responsible for reading and understanding all assigned material. Be aware that some material covered in class may not be found in your textbook.  If you do not understand any of the covered material or reading assignments, there will be opportunities to ask questions in class, on Blackboard or during UTA/GTA/instructor office hours.

Due Dates: Due dates for all programming projects will be posted on Blackboard. Programming assignments are posted in advance, and are due in the manner stated in the specs (usually electronic submission through Blackboard) no later than the date specified.  Homework assignments are due in the manner stated (either through Blackboard or in class.)

Late work:  No late submissions are permitted for homework assignments.  Late submissions are permitted for programming projects, but will be penalized 10% per day (incl. weekend days/holidays). You should recognize that this can cause major penalties for incomplete programs, so start work early! If your program isn't the way you'd like it to be when the deadline is near, submit it anyway for partial credit. In fact, submit early and often! The system permits you to resubmit your assignment until the due date, so you may resubmit if you improve your program prior to the deadline. (Resubmissions after the deadline require approval of your TA, since s/he may already have graded your project. If you know that you wish to resubmit a new version after the deadline, it is your responsibility to notify your TA no later than the time of the deadline, so s/he will not grade the on-time submission.) No resubmissions may be made after a project has been graded.


Your course grade will be a weighted average of the following items:

Individual programming projects may be weighted differently from one another, at the instructor's discretion.

Instructor's evaluation may include in-class exercises.  Homework may include short programming assignments and/or traditional homework exercises.  


CS 222 will be using the Blackboard system and GMU email for most class communications. We may also be using Piazza for questions on assignments.  You are responsible for any announcements or information posted on Blackboard or Piazza, either by your instructor, your GTA or the class UTA(s).  Since most Blackboard announcements will also be sent to your gmu email account, please make sure your GMU email account is active and able to receive messages.  Individual communications with the professor/GTA/UTA should also use your GMU email account. When you email, please be sure to include your name, the class number and section and the topic in the subject header. (E.g.: Subject: Jim Jones / CS 222-003 / Project 2)


If you are a student with a disability, please contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at (703) 993-2474.  I will be happy to arrange any appropriate academic accommodations, but they must be arranged through ODS (http://ods.gmu.edu).


(1) No sharing or discussion of code for assignments. Unless specifically stated otherwise, all assignments are individual projects, not group projects. Students are expected to do their own work, not to share programs with each other, nor copy programs from anyone else. This means you may not discuss program design or strategize solutions with anyone except your instructor or a course UTA or GTA.  However, you may offer more limited assistance to your fellow students regarding specific questions on their programming assignments by responding to queries on Blackboard or Piazza (see guidelines below).  You may also discuss general course concepts, including coding, so long as it is  outside of any assignment context.  Any discussion or sharing of code outside these guidelines constitutes an honor code violation. Suspected honor code violations are taken very seriously, and will be reported to the Honor Committee. (See CS Department Integrity Statement and Honor Code)

(2) No incorporation of code from any source external to the course. You may not incorporate code written by others, such as can be found on the Internet or any of the numerous CS books available. You are encouraged to use external sources to enhance your understanding of general concepts, but you should not be using these sources to locate code to include in any assigned programs.  Of course, you may freely use any code provided as part of the project specifications, and you need not credit the source.  However, if you use code provided by your instructor/GTA/UTA (other than that given as part of the project specifications) or from the course textbook, you must document what portion came from those sources.  Working something out together with an instructor or TA usually will not require crediting the source, but when in doubt, sinply ask to make sure. 

(3) Blackboard/Piazza. We encourage the use of Blackboard or Piazza to discuss assignments and assist one another with programming questions. You may ask questions or respond to queries regarding projects or other assignments, so long as you do not post any C code or detailed pseudo code, and so long as you do not provide specific solutions to the overall problem or algorithm design (even in English). Often, students believe that posting "simple" code is acceptable. However, because there is a wide variation in what different students and instructors regard as "simple," we must be very strict about the ban against Blackboard code. Only an instructor, GTA or UTA is permitted to place code on blackboard/piazza unless it is code that has already been provided to all students (either as part of the assignment specification itself or within the class textbook).

(4) Discussing Blackboard/Piazza postings outside of Blackboard/Piazza.  Students must not discuss postings from Blackboard/Piazza outside of the electronic system.  "Summarizing" Blackboard statements or responses to another student verbally regarding an assignment is *not* acceptable, and is subject to the above ban on discussing assignment solutions. While it may seem harmless, Blackboard and Piazza were set up so that all assistance could be overseen by instructors/TAs/UTAs, and it is nearly impossible to truly duplicate this type of discussion outside of the system itself, thus creating the potential for either (unknown) mistaken advice, or for unfair advantage by certain students. If you truly wish to assist a fellow student, encourage him or her to log onto Blackboard/Piazza, and direct him/her to specific postings you find helpful.

(5) Back up your program regularly. You are expected to backup your program in separate files as you get different pieces working. Failure to do this may result in your getting a much lower grade on a program if last minute problems occur. (Accidentally deleting your program, having problems connecting, etc., will not be accepted as excuses.)

(6) Keep an untouched copy of your final code submission. It is important that you not touch your programs once you have made your final submission. If there are any submission problems, consideration for credit will only be given if it can be verified that the programs were not changed after being submitted.

(7) Code must run on zeus using gcc. Students are strongly encouraged to develop programs directly on zeus, and must test them before submission to be sure they work properly using the gcc compiler on zeus.  Students who choose to disregard this advice and develop their programs on other systems should not be surprised if their programs fail to work on zeus.  Also, please note that the instructor or TAs may not be able to answer questions regarding errors encountered on other systems.  Once makefiles are introduced, a makefile should also be included with each assignment submission.  No credit will be given for nonworking programs claimed to work elsewhere, and no extensions will be given due to compiler incompatibilities.


The following represents the basic schedule of topics that will be covered during the lectures in the weeks indicated below. Reading assignments should be completed by class time on Thursday of the week indicated. 

Week     Topic								     Reading Assignment 

1 Introduction / Syllabus / Simple Unix and vi(m) Ch. 1, System Help Guides
Overview of Computing / C language elements Ch. 2, vimtutor lesson 1

2 Structure of a C program, operators, basic i/o, simple data types Ch. 3, vimtutor lesson 2

3 Top-down design, Function overview, library functions, input args. Ch. 4, review Appendix B
Control structures (if/else, switch); Loops; Tracing programs Ch. 5, vimtutor lesson 3

4 Modular programming; scope; testing; common programming errors Secs. 6.4-6.8, Sec. 12.1
Midterm 1 (Tentative exam date: Tue. 2/23)

5 Review Midterm 1; Arrays (usefulness, C syntax) Ch 7, Class slides
arrays as parameters, out-of-bounds issues, multi-dim. arrays Secs. 10.1, 10.2, vimutor lesson 4

6 Structs, array of structs Secs. 10.1, 10.2
Introduction to pointers, parameters Ch. 6, vimtutor lesson 5

7 More on pointers; pointers in structs Appendix A, class slides
Dynamic memory allocation vimtutor lesson 6

8 Spring Break

9 Strings, string functions Ch. 8

10 Basic linked lists, ordered linked lists Ch. 13.1-13.3, Appendix A, class slides
Midterm Exam 2 (Tentative date: Tue. 4/5)

11 Linked lists (double, circular) Ch. 13
Stacks, Queues (array and linked list implementations)

12 Separate/conditional compilation, Makefiles Ch. 12
Command Line Arguments Class slides

13 File I/O; Binary File I/O Ch. 11
Bitwise operators Appendix C

14 Big-O,
Basic Sorting (Selection, Insertion, Bubble) Class slides, Review 7.6

Trees; Binary Search Trees Ch. 10
Wrap-up; Final Exam Review

CAVEAT: This Schedule is subject to change to best serve the needs of the class.

** Final Exam: Tuesday, May 10 (1:30 - 4:15 p.m.) **


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