15-110 Principles of Computing (Spring 2018)

We cannot ask everyone that carries a computer in their pockets to become a computer scientist; just like we cannot all be chefs just because we eat. But knowing a thing or two about cooking is essential.
In this course, we will teach you a thing or two about computer science. By the end of the course, you will have acquired the following skills:

  • Analyzing and breaking down a problem into its smallest parts.
  • Structuring a generic solution that can be programmed.
  • Implementing simple programs in Python.
  • Understanding what kind of problems computers are good at.
  • Understanding the limits of what a computer can solve.

Lectures:  Sun-Tue   13:30 ~ 14:50  (CMB 2052)
Labs:          Thu             13:30 ~ 14:50  (CMB 1032)
Units: 10
Prereq: None

Piazza: piazza.com/cmu/spring2018/15110q (important announcements will be posted there) 
Autolab: https://autolab.andrew.cmu.edu/courses/15110q-s18

Instructor: Giselle Reis
Office: CMU-Q 1008
TA: Ashwini Kamath
Office: ARC

TA: Omar Shafie
Office: ARC

Senior TA: Mariamma Thomas
Office: ARC (8:30 ~ 16:00 by appointment)
Instructor: Ryan Riley
Office: CMU-Q 1019

TA: Maimoon Siddiqui
Office: ARC

TA: Sameer Ahmad
Office: ARC

TA: Yasir Khan
Office: ARC


Office hours:

Homework: 45%
– Due on Mondays at 18 AST
Early submissions are rewarded with 1 extra point per day.
– To be solved individually
– Evaluated based on:
* Correct functionality
* Code readability (in 2 years from now, you should be able to read your code and know what it does)
* Solution elegance (extra points for extra elegant solutions)
* Clarity and objectivity
Participation: 5%
– Attending labs
– Asking and answering questions and contributing to discussions in class and in Piazza
– Solving written homework in LaTeX (template provided)
Midterm: 2 x 15%
– Closed-book, 1hr and 20min
– 20/02
– 03/04
Final: 20%
– Closed-book, 3hrs
– Date to be decided


Academic integrity:
You are expected to comply with the university policy on academic integrity (see also The Word and Understanding Academic Integrity).
Collaboration is regulated by the whiteboard policy: you can bounce ideas about a homework with other students, but when it comes to typing it down for submission, you are on your own. You are not allowed to use notes, files, pictures, etc, from any previous discussion nor previous versions of this course.
And remember not to ignore your inner voice when it says “That’s probably not the best decision…”.

An Invitation to Students with Learning Disabilities:
Carnegie Mellon University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for all persons with disabilities. To access accommodation services you are expected to initiate the request and submit a Voluntary Disclosure of Disability Form to the office of Health & Wellness or CaPS-Q. In order to receive services/accommodations, verification of a disability is required as recommended in writing by a doctor, licensed psychologist or psycho-educational specialist. The office of Health & Wellness, CaPS-Q and Office of Disability Resources in Pittsburgh will review the information you provide. All information will be considered confidential and only released to appropriate persons on a need to know basis.

Once the accommodations have been approved, you will be issued a Summary of Accommodations Memorandum documenting the disability and describing the accommodation. You are responsible for providing the Memorandum to your professors at the beginning of each semester.

Take Care of Yourself:
Do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle this semester by eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep and taking some time to relax. This will help you achieve your goals and cope with stress.

All of us benefit from support during times of struggle. You are not alone. There are many helpful resources available on campus and an important part of the college experience is learning how to ask for help. Asking for support sooner rather than later is often helpful.

If you or anyone you know experiences any academic stress, difficult life events, or feelings like anxiety or depression, we strongly encourage you to seek support. Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS-Q) is here to help: call 4454 8525 or make an appointment to see the counselor by emailing student-counselling@qatar.cmu.edu . Consider reaching out to a friend, faculty or family member you trust for help.

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal or in danger of self-harm, call someone immediately, day or night at 5554 7913.
If the situation is life threatening, call 999.