Ever wonder how Google is able to find that one piece of information you needed on the huge web? How amazon.com is so often able to recommend just the book you wanted to read next? Or how your GPS can find the way to your spring break hotel in Ocean City? Did you know that computer science researchers are currently working on neural prosthetic devices that will translate brain signals into actions? Or that computer science algorithms are at the core of ongoing genetic research to search for the genes that may control cancer?
The incredible advances in computer hardware and
software that have been made in the last few years
have completely changed the way we live in the world.
It's easy to think of your laptop, cell phone, and iPod
as just nifty gadgets -- but they are actually the
product of innovative research in computer science,
computer engineering, and electrical engineering.
This course will peel back the layers of those
nifty gadgets that you use every day, and help you
to understand how these technologies are
able to do the amazing things that they do -- and
what challenges face us in developing
the next generation of nifty gadgets.
When: Tuesday/Thursday 1:00-2:15
CMSC 100H students will also participate in a weekly discussion section with the instructor, focusing on ethical and social issues, the research challenges in the field of computing, and programming in Python.
A secondary course objective is that students should improve their ability to communicate effectively in group discussions, class presentations, and written assignments.
Class participation and quizzes (15% total). Students are expected to attend lecture regularly and to participate in discussions. There will also be short presentations (in individuals or in small groups, depending on the size of the class) on the students' research projects. Short quizzes on the assigned readings will be given at the beginning of many classes, and will be factored into the class participation grade. Note that the assigned reading is to be completed before you come to class each day! The quizzes have two purposes: one, to make sure that students are staying on top of the reading; and two, to help me identify problem areas that may need additional time in class.
Homework assignments (35%). There will be a homework assignment each week. Some assignments will consist of mathematical exercises, short-answer questions, and/or short essays. Other assignments will be programming assignments using the Alice programming language.
Midterm and final exam (15% and 20%, respectively). There will be two exams, one in-class midterm, and a final exam at the time and place set forth by the university exam schedule. The exams will include multiple-choice, short answer, problem-solving, and short programming questions. The midterm will cover all material from the lecture and from the assigned reading. The final exam will emphasize the second part of the course, but will be cumulative (i.e., it will include material from the first part of the course as well).
Research paper (15%). Each student will be required to select an application domain that reflects one of their academic or personal interests (e.g., biology, geology, chess, football, or music). Over the course of the semester, they will research the application of computers in this application domain, and will write a research paper summarizing their findings. Each student will also be required to read and provide comments on two other students' research papers. Deliverables: topic proposal (5%), initial bibliography (5%), outline (5%), draft (10%), review (5%), and final report (70%).
All students must read, understand, and follow the CMSC 100 course policy on academic honesty and grading. Each student will be asked to sign a copy of the academic honesty/grading policy, indicating that they have read and understood it.
Cheating in any form will not be tolerated. In particular, all assignments are to be your own work. You may discuss the assignments with anyone. However, any help you receive must be documented explicitly. A useful way to think about the difference between "discussing the assignments" and "cheating" is that after you have discussed an assignment, you should be alone, writing your own words, when you complete the assignment.
Written answers on all assignments (including homework, exams, and the research paper) must be your own work. Plagiarism (copying) of any source, including another student's work, is not acceptable and will result in at a minimum a zero grade for the entire assignment. If you wish to quote a source, you must do so explicitly, using quotation marks and proper citation at the point of the quote. A useful guideline is that if more than two or three words in a row are the same in your report as in the original source, you have plagiarized. http://www.bedfordstmartins.com/online/cite6.html gives an excellent overview of how to correctly cite a source. http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/plagiarism.shtml has guidelines on acceptable paraphrasing. (See also the other documents at http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets.shtml for useful suggestions on writing and citing sources.)
The same requirement applies to programming assignments. Your programs are expected to be your own, original work, and not borrowed, copied, templated, or modified from code that you have obtained elsewhere. Under no circumstances should you show your program code to another student.