[Bowdoin Computer Science]

CSci 210: Data Structures
Advanced programming through data structure design and analysis

Fall 2010

Class: Mon, Wed 1 - 2:25, Lab: Wed 2:30-3:55 in Searles 126/128

Syllabus & Labs

Solving computational problems requires knowledge of algorithms and data structures and the ability to measure efficiency in order to make effective choices among alternative solutions. This course is a continuation to csci101 (Intro to Computer Science), and is a study of fundamental data structures, their design, implementation, efficiency and effective use in solving problems. Though the class is programming-intensive and most of the assignments involve programming, programming is not the main focus of the class. The class is rather about program development, from algorithms and analysis, to degugging Java. More precisely, the class focuses on the following broad topics:

  1. Standard abstract data structures: The class will study the basic data structures that come up in computational solutions to problems. You will learn about lists, vectors, stacks, queues, priority queues, trees and hash tables.

  2. Design: You will refine your learning of how to come up with a solution to a problem. This involves thinking abstractly about the problem, modeling with appropriate classes and methods, thinking about modularity and data abstraction, dividing a task into building blocks, identifying data structures.

  3. Analysis: You will learn to analyse the efficiency of your solution. You will learn to use efficiency considerations to make the right choice of data structures.

  4. Program development: Programming can be tedious and brain-damaging if not approached in the right way. You will learn about debugging and testing and incremental development.

  5. Programming style: Not all code that works is good. When programming, you will learn to strive for simplicity, clarity and generality.

As a programming language, we'll use Java.


csci 101; or, students with programming experience from highschool may take the course with the permission of the instructor.

Instructor: Laura Toma

TA: Jack Morrisson (jgmorris at bowdoin )

Class Email: csci210 at bowdoin

Class webpage: http://www.bowdoin.edu/~ltoma/teaching/cs210/fall10/. All material will be available from this page throughout the semester. This class does not have a Blackboard site.

Useful books (not required):

Approximate course Outline

Week Topic
Week 1 Sorting and searching.
Week 2 Analysis of algorithms.
Week 3 Object-oriented (OO) concepts.
Week 4 Stacks and Queues.
Week 5 Linked lists.
Week 6, 7 Recursion.
-------- Exam1
Week 7, 8 Searching and backtracking. Breadth- and depth-first search.
Week 9 Trees and binary search trees.
Week 10 Balanced binary search trees.
Week 11 Priority queues.
Week 12 Maps and hash tables.
Week 13, 14 Networks.
-------- Exam 2

Work for the course and grading policy:

The work for this course includes class participation, readings, two tests, in-class assignments, homework assignments, and a number of lab assignments. The bulk of your work will be in the labs. Lab assignments will be available online. Approximately 50% of your grade will be based on the exams. The rest will be based on labs and homeworks.

Since the major goal of the class is to teach you about program development, not handing in any lab is grounds for failing the course. This does not assume, however, that all labs need to be completed satisfactorily.

One of the goals of the class is to learn the difference between programs that simply work, and quality programs. Therefore do not assume that completing an assignment will result in an A program.

Lab work will be done individually or in teams of 2 people. The lab-time is dedicated to getting started on the lab. Each lab assignment will be due one week after it is assigned (unless otherwise specified in class). The lab assignment must be turned in electronically (by email), as well as hard-copy. Endorse each assignment with your signature to acknowledge that you have followed the honor code for the class.

Late policy

The assignments must be turned in at the specified time. The reason is that it is absolutely essential that you do not fall behind in the class. Furthermore, once an assignment is due, I will no longer provide help on it. In addition, you may not work on late assignments during class time. The late penalty for an assignment is 25% per day. Failure to hand in an assignment is grounds for failing the course. So you are better off handing in something incomplete than not handing in at all.

Honor code and cheating policy

Students are expected to follow the Bowdoin Computer Use Policy and the Academic Honor Code. You are encouraged to discuss ideas and techniques broadly with other class members, but not specifics of assigned problems except as part of group projects. Discussions should be limited to questions that can be asked and answered without using any written medium (e.g. pencil and paper or email). This means that at no time should a student read any code written by another student unless they are part of the same group. Sharing of code or intermediate designs is expressly prohibited. The same rules apply once you have finished the course - sharing your code with other students will be considered a violation of Bowdoin's honor code. Violation of this policy is grounds for me to initiate an action that would be filed with the Dean's office and would come before the J Board. If you have any questions about this policy, PLEASE do not hesitate to contact me. This will be a zero-tolerance policy.

It is permissible to use software and materials available from other sources (understanding that you get no credit for using the work of others on those parts of your projects) as long as: 1) You acknowledge explicitly which aspects of your assignment were taken from other sources and what those sources are. 2) The materials are freely and legally available. 3) The material was not created by a student at Bowdoin as part of this course this year or in prior years.

All write-ups, reviews, documentation, and other written material must be original and may not be derived from other sources.

If in the future you will provide your work to students in 210 this will also constitute a violation of Bowdoin's honor code.