Protocol of the Course

The course syllabus is our 'contract' and we will abide by it.

The course consists of lectures by the instructor, three times per week.


Required and recommended reading:

As indicated in the Class schedule. The content of the course will be dynamically adapted to students interests and performance.

Programming, theoretical, and library-search assignments:

  • Programming assignments homework must be turned in using the UNIX webhandin program on and turned in before class on the due date. Pen-and-paper assignments must be given to the instructor right before the lecture on the due date.
  • Late homeworks are subject to a 20% deduction per day (including week-ends), any second after the due date counts as an entire day.
  • Programming assignments must run on cse and can be done in Java, C++, or C. For other programming languages, please talk to instructor. When code and data structures are provided for guidance, they will be mostly in Common Lisp (advice: use Allegro Common Lisp on Linux or a sun workstation).
  • Students are kindly requested to indicate how much time they approximately spend on each exercise; this information will be aggregated and used for planning purposes: it does not affect grading and the evaluation of individuals.

Surprise quizzes:

There will be surprise quizzes throughout the semester (with a frequency inversely proportional to students' attendance). Quizzes will address all material covered during the lectures and/or by the required reading. No books or personal notes are allowed during the quizzes, unless explicitly specified. Quizzes cannot be made up.


There will be a pre-test only. The pre-test cannot be made up except by instructor's permission.

Search Competition:

Students will receive code and data that model a real-world application, all in LISP. Students will choose some search mechanism and implement it in the language of their choice. Results will be compared, winner will receive a gift certificate for a book.

Project research, report, and presentation:

The project can be either a literature study/survey or the implementation of algorithms.; A presentation to the class is mandatory. The grade will take into account the quality of the research, report, and presentation.


Because the course heavily relies on class discussion, attendance is mandatory. A student cannot miss more than four sessions including make-up class/recitation. Advanced notice to the instructor for each absence is required. Attendance is taken. Students are responsible for the material covered and announcements made during the class. Also, there will be surprise quizzes.
Bonuses will be awarded to students who attend all lectures,in teract lively, and participate in discussion in class.


It is the students responsibility to ensure an account on the department's unix server or PCs (with Linux), in order to run xemacs (editor) and Allegro Common Lisp (ACL), the programming environment.

Discussions among students, instructor, and TA are strongly encouraged. Homework however are a strictly individual activity: no sharing is permitted (unless when specified by instructor). Unethical behavior will be heavily sanctioned (e.g., a null grade on the task).

Always acknowledge any help received from other individuals.

Always fully reference material used (e.g., encyclopedia, book, paper, journal, web site).

Last modified: Fri Jan 7 17:05:07 CST 2011