Princeton University
Computer Science Department

Computer Science 217
Introduction to Programming Systems

Thomas Funkhouser

Spring 2003

General Information | Schedule | Assignments | Policies



You will be responsible for the material presented in every lecture. Some of that material will not be in the textbooks.


You should attend the precepts. As with lectures, you are responsible for the material presented in every precept. Some of that material will not be in the textbooks.

Assignments: Late Submission

You should submit your work on an assignment (electronically) before its due time. If you submit your work late, we will give you credit for it on this scale: You are granted three "free late days." If you would like to use one or more free late days for a particular assignment, then you must say so in a "readme" file that you submit with your work for that assignment. Beyond those free late days, we will grant extensions only in the case of illness (with a doctor's note) or extremely extenuating circumstances.  If you do have an extremely extenuating circumstance, please discuss it with us as soon as possible.  Please plan your work on the assignments so that travel, religious holidays, etc. do not cause you to submit it late.

Assignments: Collaboration

The COS 217 collaboration policy is the same as that of Princeton's COS 126 course...

Programming in 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 friends are encouraged. However, when the time comes to write code that solves the problem, such discussions are no longer appropriate - the program must be your own work. If you have a question about how to use some feature of C, UNIX, etc., you can certainly ask your friends or the teaching assistants, but do not, under any circumstances, copy another person's program. Writing code for use by another or using someone else's code in any form is a violation of academic regulations. "Using someone else's code" includes using solutions or partial solutions to assignments provided by commercial web sites, instructors, preceptors, teaching assistants, friends, or students from any previous offering of this course or any other course.

You may, however, use any code from the COS 217 lectures, precepts, or course texts, providing that you explain what code you use, and cite its source in your "readme" file or in comments. For each assignment, you must also specifically describe whatever help (if any) that you received from others in your "readme" file, and write the names of any individuals with whom you collaborated. This includes help from friends, classmates, lab TAs, and COS 217 staff members.

If you have a question about what is fair and what is not, please consult a staff member. Violators will be referred to the disciplinary committee for review. Princeton's Rights, Rules, Responsibilities document 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.

Also, be warned that it is very easy to identify plagiarism of source code. We use Alex Aiken's renowned MOSS (Measure of Software Similarity) software for this purpose.

You are responsible for keeping your solutions to the COS 217 programming assignments away from prying eyes. If someone else copies your program, we have no way to determine who's the owner and who's the copier; the Discipline Committee gets to decide. If you are working on a public cluster machine, be sure to delete your local source files and logout before leaving.

You should store all of your assignment files in a private directory. You can create a private directory using commands similar to these:

mkdir cs217
chmod 700 cs217


You may post questions/comments to the course newsgroup. We will make every effort to respond promptly. We may also post unsolicited information to the newsgroup. You should check the newsgroup frequently, especially while working on assignments.

Alternatively you may send e-mail to us. In general, if you have a question/comment that will be helpful to other students, then you should post it to the newsgroup; if you have a question/comment that is specific to your work, or if you must reveal portions of your work to adequately express your question/comment, then you should send us e-mail.


Your final grade will be weighted as follows:

Assignments: 60%
Exams: 30%
Class participation: 10%