COS 126 Programming Assignments, Spring 2005

All assignments are due on the date specified by electronic submission. Before you turn in the assignment, be sure to read the Assignment checklist and carefully follow all instructions. Feel free to look ahead at any future assignments that appear online, but be warned that some changes are possible.

0 2/9 Hello World checklist
1 2/16 Conditionals, Loops, I/O checklist
2 2/23 N-Body Simulation checklist
3 3/2 Recursive Graphics checklist
4 3/10 Error Correcting Codes checklist
5 3/30 Digital Signal Processing checklist
6 4/6 Traveling Salesperson Problem checklist
7 4/13 Markov Models checklist
8 4/20 DNA Sequence Alignment checklist
9 5/9 Barnes-Hut Algorithm checklist

Computing Laboratories

There are a number of computing facilities located in the Friend Center. There is a Sun workstation lab known as arizona for Unix users in 016, a PC lab for Windows users in 017, and Internet connections if you wish to plug in your laptop. The labs are open 24 hours a day, and are staffed by lab assistants most evenings and weekend afternoons. Here is the lab assistant schedule. The lab assistants are there to answer general computer-related questions and to assist in debugging. If you have questions regarding the course materials or programming assignments, see your preceptor or instructor.

Submitting Programming Assignments

Submit your solutions to the programming assignments electronically via the course web page. To authenticate yourself, you will need to type your Princeton email login and password. You will receive an email confirmation for each successful submission. You can resubmit or unsubmit files as needed.

Programming assignments are due at 11:59pm on the date specified. Are we completely serious about the exact second on this deadline? Well, no. You do have some leeway: a few minutes late we won't even notice, but a whole day late we will definitely notice. Point deductions for lateness will be exacted by your preceptor, and can be waived for unforeseen circumstances, like illness, with an appropriate written excuse. Preceptors may also use their discretion to grant extensions. 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. Partial credit is available for a partially complete assignment; just explain the situation in your readme.txt file.

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 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.

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.

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

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.

You are responsible for keeping your solutions to the COS 126 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, use your H: drive, and be sure that the permissions are set so that they are not world readable.