Computer Science 126
General Computer Science
Fall 2014

Course Information | People | Assignments | Lectures | Precepts | Exams | Booksite

Have a question? Please contact Donna Gabai or Maia Ginsburg.


Course description.  An introduction to computer science in the context of scientific, engineering, and commercial applications. The goal of the course is to teach basic principles and practical issues, while at the same time preparing students to use computers effectively for applications in computer science, physics, biology, chemistry, engineering, and other disciplines. Topics include: programming in Java; hardware and software systems; algorithms and data structures; fundamental principles of computation; and scientific computing, including simulation, optimization, and data analysis.

Instructor.  Robert Sedgewick.

Lectures.  Lectures meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10am (L01)

Preceptors.  Donna Gabai (co-lead) · Maia Ginsburg (co-lead) · Doug Clark · Andrea LaPaugh · Dan Leyzberg · Stephen Cook · Katie Edwards · Young Kun Ko · Theodore (Ted) Brundage · Nevin Li · Jordan Ash · Shaoqing (Victor) Yang · Emily Nelson · Colin Watson

Precepts.  Precepts meet twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays or Wednesdays and Fridays. Precepts begin either Thursday Sept 11 or Friday Sept 12.

Undergraduate coordinator.  For enrollment problems, see Colleen Kenny-McGinley in CS 210.

Course website.  The course website contains a wealth of information, including precept rosters, office hours, lecture slides, programming assignments, and old exams.

Software.  Links to install the course software package (introcs) appear in the first assignment.

Computing facilities.  You may use your own computers, or the labs in Friend Center 017. Click here for information on using the labs.

Lab TAs.  Most evenings, undergraduate lab TAs are available in a certain room on campus to provide general help with using your operating system and assist with debugging your programs. Click here for more information, location and hours.

Online forum.  If you have general questions about the assignments, lectures, textbook, or other course materials, please post via Piazza. See the course policies page for more information. To sign up for the course's Piazza page, visit

Grading.  Two 2-part exams (50%), nine programming assignments (40%), final programming project (10%), and staff discretion. We record grades in Blackboard.

Regrading policy.  Occasionally, we make mistakes. To request a regrade: write a brief note indicating the perceived mistake by the grader, attach it to your graded work, and give it to your preceptor within two weeks of when the graded work was returned.

Midterm exams.  There are 2 two-part midterms during the semester. No final exam.

No makeup exams will be considered without a Dean's recommendation and our preapproval.

Programming assignments and final project.  There are weekly programming assignments plus a final programming project, usually due Monday nights at midnight, beginning Sept 15.

Required readings.   R. Sedgewick and K. Wayne, Introduction to Programming in Java: An Interdisciplinary Approach, Addison-Wesley, 2007. ISBN 0-321-49805-4. Available at Labyrinth Bookstore, 122 Nassau Street. Also on reserve at Friend library.

Recommended readings.  D. Harel, Computers Ltd.: What They Really Can't Do, Oxford, 2003. ISBN 0-19-860442-4. Available at Labyrinth Bookstore, 122 Nassau Street. Also on reserve at Friend library.

Auditing.  Auditors must identify themselves to the lead preceptor. Auditors will receive only automated feedback on work (immediate feedback in the dropbox, plus an e-mailed printout of some automatic tests for every week's homework). If you successfully complete ALL of the programming assignments (including the Atomic final project) using at most 4 late days, you will get "audit credit" at the end of the course. Auditors must not attend exams.