Computer Science 126
General Computer Science
Fall 2012

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Below are the programming assignments. For each assignment, the assignment entry links to the programming assignment specification; the checklist entry points to clarifications, test data, and hints that might be helpful in completing the assignment; the submit entry links to the electronic submission system; and the collaboration entry specifies the collaboration policy.

0 9/17 Hello World checklist submitindividual
1 9/24 Conditionals, Loops checklist submitindividual
2 10/1 N-Body Simulation checklist submitindividual
3 10/8 Recursive Graphics checklist submitindividual
4 10/15 DNA Sequence Alignment checklist submitpair programming
5 10/22 Linear Feedback Shift Register checklist submitindividual
10/25 Programming Exam 1 submitindividual
6 11/12 Guitar Hero checklist submitpair programming
7 11/19 Markov Model checklist submitpair programming
8 12/3 Traveling Salesperson Problem checklist submitpair programming
12/13 Programming Exam 2 submitindividual
9 1/14 Atomic Nature of Matter checklist submitpair programming
Assignments below are still tentative for Fall 2012

Submission policy.  You must submit your solutions electronically via the Dropbox submission system. You will need to type your Princeton netID and password for authentication. Be sure to type your name, login and precept number at the top of every file you submit. Also be sure to click the Check All Submitted Files button to make sure that you have submitted all of the required files and that they compile cleanly. If you do not follow these directions, you will lose a substantial number of points.

You can resubmit and unsubmit files as needed up until the submission deadline. However, once the submission deadline passes, you should not resubmit or unsubmit files: if you wish to submit an assignment late, be sure that your submission directory is empty from the deadline until you are ready to submit all of your files for that assignment. Anything in the submit directory at grading time will be graded as is.

Lateness policy.   Programming assignments are due at 9pm on the date specified, with a 3-hour grace period. Extra credit is not accepted after the due date. Late assignments are assessed a 4-point penalty per day or partial day: 0–3 hours late (no penalty), 3–24 hours late (4 points), 24–48 hours late (8 points), etc. Your first 16 lateness points are automatically waived. No additional lateness points will be waived without the recommendation of a Dean or a letter from McCosh Health Center. The absolute deadline for all written work is Dean's Date.

Grading policy.   Your code will be graded for correctness, efficiency, clarity, programming style (including comments), and elegance. It is your responsibility to describe how you have completed the assignment in the submission, not ours to glean this information from your code. Partial credit is available for a partially complete assignment; just explain the situation in your readme.txt file.

Advice.   The very best advice we can give you about completing your programming assignments on time is exactly what you'd expect: do not wait until the last minute! Plan several sessions of work for each assignment, and start early.

Collaboration policy.   Programming is an individual creative process much like composition. You must reach your own understanding of the problem and discover a path to its solution. During this time, discussions with other people are permitted and encouraged. However, when the time comes to write code that solves the problem, such discussions (except with course staff members) are no longer appropriate: the code must be your own work. If you have a question about how to use some feature of Java, the operating system, or some other relevant application, you can certainly ask your friends or the teaching assistants, but specific questions about code you have written must be treated more carefully. For each assignment, you must specifically describe in your readme.txt file, whatever help (if any) that you received from others and tell us the names of any individuals with whom you collaborated. This includes help from friends, classmates, lab TAs, and course staff members.

Do not, under any circumstances, copy another person's code. Incorporating someone else's code into your program in any form is a violation of academic regulations. This includes adapting solutions or partial solutions to assignments from any offering of this course or any other course. Abetting plagiarism or unauthorized collaboration by "sharing" your code is also prohibited. Sharing code in digital form is an especially egregious violation: do not e-mail your code or make your source files available to anyone. There is one exception to the code-sharing rule: You may adapt code from the COS 126 course materials provided that you explain what code you use, and cite its source in your comments. An example citation appears in

Novices often have the misconception that copying and mechanically transforming a program (by rearranging independent code, renaming variables, or similar operations) makes it something different. Actually, identifying plagiarized source code is easier than you might think. Not only does plagiarized code quickly identify itself as part of the grading process, but also we can turn to software packages (such as Alex Aiken's renowned MOSS software) for automatic help.

This policy supplements the University's academic regulations, making explicit what constitutes a violation for this course. Princeton Rights, Rules, Responsibilities handbook asserts:

The only adequate defense for a student accused of an academic violation is that the work in question does not, in fact, constitute a violation. Neither the defense that the student was ignorant of the regulations concerning academic violations nor the defense that the student was under pressure at the time the violation was committed is considered an adequate defense.
If you have any questions about these matters, please consult a course staff member. Violators will be referred to the Committee on Discipline for review; if found guilty, you will receive an F as a course grade plus whatever disciplinary action the Committee imposes.

Pair programming. On assignments designated as pair programming, the collaboration policy is relaxed to permit working with a partner in any precept provided you practice pair programming. Pair programming "is a practice in which two programmers work side-by-side at one computer, continuously collaborating on the same design, algorithm, code, or test." One partner is driving (designing and typing the code) while the other is navigating (reviewing the work, identifying bugs, and asking questions). The two partners switch roles every 30-40 minutes, and on demand, brainstorm. Before pair programming, you must read the article All I really need to know about pair programming I learned in kindergarten.

Only one partner submits the code and readme.txt; the other partner submits only an abbrievated readme.txt that contains both partners' names, logins, and precepts. The names, logins, and precept numbers of both partners should appear at the top of every submitted file. Both partners will receive the same grade. Writing code with a partner without following the pair programming instructions listed above is a serious violation of the course collaboration policy.

Computing laboratories.   The Friend 016 and Friend 017 computing laboratories are open 24 hours a day. They contain desktop computers, which can run either OS X or Windows; alternatively, you can bring your own laptop. Most evenings, Friend 017 is staffed with undergraduate lab TAs, who can answer general computer-related questions and assist in debugging. If you have specialized questions regarding the course materials or programming assignments, see your preceptor or instructor.