The purpose of the CS160 course is to introduce students to fundamental concepts in computer science. Concepts from mathematics (the "theory" component), programming and architecture will be interleaved to show how software and hardware complement each other. Theory will provide the basis for understanding the software and hardware design. The course will adopt a problem solving focus with an integrated view of the computer. For programming, the course covers the basic Java syntax and language features, compilation, interpretation, execution, primitive data types, class and object usage, parameter passing, flow of control constructs and arrays. For theory, the course will cover sets, functions, logic, simple proof and invariants. Architecture concepts will include simple computer models, data representations and memory models.


Instructor: Gareth Halladay
Lecture: 1:00-2:15pm, MTWR, CSB130
Office Location: COMSC 415
Office Hours: See Help Desk Hours


Addy "Affable" Moran
Justin Daniels


MATH 118 (College Algebra in Context II) with a C or better


Java Programming (Required):

Java: An Introduction to Problem Solving and Programming
Savitch (7th edition)

Discrete Math (Required):

Discrete Mathematics and Its Applications (7th Edition)
The Rosen text will be used in CS161 and CS200 as well.

iClickers (Required):

You are required to purchase an iClicker remote for in-class participation. iClicker is a response system that allows you to respond to questions we pose during class, and you will be graded on that feedback and participation. In order to receive this credit, you will need to register your iClicker remote on Canvas by noon, Jun. 15, 2016. See the instructions for registering your iClicker on the resources tab.

Piazza (Optional):

This term we will be using Piazza for class discussion. The system is highly catered to getting you help fast and efficiently from classmates, the teaching staff (TAs and instructors). Rather than emailing questions to the teaching staff, we encourage you to post your questions on Piazza. If you have any problems or feedback for the developers, email Piazza will be accessed via the Module tab on Canvas. Piazza does not cost anything to students or the department. It allows students to post questions and get answers about the following topics:
  • Java Programming
  • Linux Operating System
  • Eclipse Development Tools
  • Programming Assignments
We expect to post clarifications about assignments as well as answering questions relating to assignments. Also, please use the existing topics we have created, do not create new ones. There are a number of things that we prohibit on Piazza, as follows:
  • Please do not post any of your assignment code on Piazza.
  • No profanity, sexism, racism, or anything in bad taste, of course!
  • Please no grade inquiries, use the help desk or cs160 email alias instead.

Lectures and Labs

What Days Time Instructor Helper Where
Lecture MTWR 1:00pm - 2:15pm Gareth Halladay CSB130
Lab (L01) TR 10:30am - 12:10pm Addy Moran Justin Daniels COMSC 215
Lab (L02) TR 8:30am - 10:10am Addy Moran Justin Daniels COMSC 215

Help Desk

The help desk is held in the COMSC 120 lab. This is where students can go to get help with assignments and resolve grading issues.

Days Time Who Where
Mon. 9:00am-1:00pm Addy Moran COMSC 120
Mon. 2:30pm-4:30pm Gareth Halladay COMSC 120
Tue. 9:00am-11:00am Cole Frederick COMSC 120
Wed. 9:30am-1:00pm Addy Moran COMSC 120
Thur. 9:00am-11:00am Cole Frederick COMSC 120
Fri. 9:00am-11:00am Cole Frederick and Gareth Halladay COMSC 120


The course requires you to demonstrate a grasp of the concepts on a number of evaluation components. Here is the grading scheme:

Activity Weight Description
Assignments 35% Java Assignments, Math Homeworks
Reading Quizzes 5% Canvas (Math)
Labs 10% Lab Attendance and Completion
Peer Instruction 5% In-Class iClicker
Programming Quizzes 10% In-Lab Programming
Midterm 15% First Midterm
Final Exam 20% Comprehensive Exam

Teaching assistants, grade assignments, labs, and quizzes. If you believe you have been graded unfairly, please send an email to (assignments) or your teaching assistant (labs) first. Grade complaints will be considered only for two weeks immediately following when the assignment grade appears on Canvas!
  • Assignments will be done individually. As required by the department, we will check for collaboration using a software tool, so do your own work!
  • Lab participation is mandatory. A portion of the class grade comes from successfully finishing the assigned lab work, and our previous students have indicated that labs are the best part of this class.
  • Programming Quizzes will be taken during lab hours with no additional aids. They are used for attendance and to test your understanding of Java topics.
  • Canvas has online discrete math reading quizzes. In addition there will be two math homeworks on paper that will be graded during your lab.
  • Peer Instruction sessions are held during lectures and require you to bring an iClicker. These are usually but not always held on Fridays, and we will announce in class and online whenever iClickers are needed Monday or Wednesday. Scores are weighted (approximately) as follows: 70% for participation, 30% for correctness. There will not be any paper quizzes during lectures.
The assignment of letter grades will be made as follows:

Letter Grade Points
A ≥90%
B ≥80%
C ≥70%
D ≥60%
F <60%

We will not assign lower grades than shown. However, your average score on exams must be ≥60% to receive a passing grade in this course.

Important Dates

Date Description
First day of classesMon., Jun. 13
Last day of classes Fri., Aug. 5
Deadline to add/drop without overrideWed., Jun. 15
Last day to withdrawSun., Jun. 26
Midterm Exam Thu., Jul. 7, during class
Final Exam Thu., Aug. 4, during class

Midterms and the final exam will be held in the same classroom as regular lectures. The final exam is comprehensive.

In-Class Participation

All students taking this course are expected to participate actively. This includes asking and responding to questions. Students are also expected to scan the announcements on the home page and the progress page every day for updates. If an assignment changes significantly, we are responsible for sending out an email.