CS 306 - Computer Algorithms II

Fall 2008

C++, of course, excels at returning complex data types, but then the usual issues associated with returning objects must be dealt with. Who originates the object, who owns it, and where does it get destroyed? Do you copy it from place to place, or pass around a pointer or a reference to a single object?

John Calcote, Rich Error Information
C/C++ Users Journal, March 2005

Table of Contents

Course Description

This is the second of two courses on computer algorithms and data structures; see the CS 306 entry in the course catalog for the formal description of the course.

The prerequisite for this class is CS 305. In particular, you are assumed to be familiar with the basics of C++ dynamic-storage management, recursive programming, and asymptotic estimation (these will be reviewed in the first two weeks of the class).

The course is divided into seven two-week sections.

The class meets in Howard Hall C1 (third floor) on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:30 p.m. to 4:20 p.m. There's no class on Thanksgiving, Thursday, 27 November.


The course objective is to extend and exercise your algorithm design and implementation knowledge in three areas:


R. Clayton, rclayton@monmouth.edu. Office hours are from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in HH C1; see the schedule for details.


The usual grade ranges are in effect:
95 A
90 A-<95
83.3B <86.6
80 B-<83.3
73.3C <76.6
70 C-<73.3
60 D<70
All grades are kept with one digit of precision to the right of the decimal point and 0.05 rounded up. No grades are adjusted to a curve; that means, for example, that 89.9 is always a B+, never an A-.

Final Grade

The final grade is the weighted sum of the quiz-grade average and the assignment-grade average with the weights

    50%assignment grades
    40%quiz grades
    10%presentation grade

The test- and assignment-grade averages are straight, unweighted averages.

Mid-term grades are the straight, unweighted averages of whatever assignment and quiz grades have accumulated by the mid-term grade deadline (Thursday, 23 October).


There are seven quizes, one for each of the sections; see the syllabus for the schedule. Quizes are given in class, and are closed book with no notes; calculators and computers will not be necessary. The quizes are cumulative, covering everything taught up to and including the class before the quiz. Quizs should take no more than an hour to complete, and are given in the first hour of class. Quiz answers will be made available on the syllabus. There are no mid-terms or finals.

Programming Assignments

There are four programming assignments, each three weeks long; see the syllabus for details.

Problem Presentation

Each person in class will give a talk about a problem they've solved; see the problem-talk page for more details.



There is no textbook for this course. Or rather, there are many textbooks for this course (see the annotated bibliography for examples); almost any of them will do as long as they cover the course topics, see the syllabus for details. Reading notes for each section will be provided on the syllabus. Each note will contain references to other sources for more information.

This will be a C++ programming course. You should have references handy for both C++ and the standard library.


Feel free to send e-mail to rclayton@monmouth.edu . Unless I warn you beforehand, I'll usually respond within a couple of hours during the usual work days; if I don't respond within a day, resend the message.

Mail relevant to the class are stored in a hyper-mail archive. If your message is of general interest to the class, I'll store it, suitably stripped of identification and along with my answer, in the archive.

Home page

If you're reading this on paper, you can find the class home page at http://www.monmouth.edu/rclayton/web-pages/f08-306/index.html. I'll make the class notes, assignments, and quizes available on the syllabus; you should get in the habit of checking the syllabus regularly.


As an experiment, the lectures for this class will be recorded and podcast. Audio will be available on the syllabus and via an RSS feed.



People who need assistance or accommodations above and beyond what is usually provided in class should contact the University's ADA/504 coordinator to get those needs met. See the Disability Services page for more details.


I have no class attendance policy; you may attend class or not as you see fit. However, I hold you responsible for knowing everything that goes on in class; "I wasn't in class for that." is not an acceptable excuse for a wrong answer, or for giving no answer at all.

My attendance policy applies only to lecture attendance; it does not apply to other kinds of attendance which may be required for the course. Repeated failures to meet the attendance expectations set for tests, meetings, projects, labs or other forms of course work will have a bad influence on your grade.

Monmouth University does have a class attendance policy, which you can find in the Academic Information chapter of the Student Handbook. To the extent that I need to keep the record straight, I will take attendance. Attendance lists, however, are entirely for the University's benefit; I will make no use of them in grading.


I deal with suspected cheating by failing first and asking questions later. Although cheating has many forms, I generally consider cheating to be any attempt to claim someone else's work as your own; also, I consider both the provider and the user of the work guilty of cheating. See the chapters on Academic Information and the Student Code of Conduct in the Student Handbook for more details.

Complaining about Grades

I recognize and encourage a student's sacred right to complain about their grade. There are, however, a few rules under which such complaining should take place, and those students who don't follow the rules will be less successful in their complaints than those students who do follow the rules.

First, the only complaint that matters is that something got marked wrong when it was actually right. When you come to complain, be prepared to present, in explicit detail, what it is you did and why you think it's right.

Second, complaints about a particular test or assignment are only valid until the next test or assignment is due; after that point the book is permanently closed on all previous test or assignment grades.

Late Assignments

Assignments must be turned in by their due date; assignments turned in after their due date are late. You should contact me as soon as possible if you need to negotiate a due-date extension. The longer you wait to negotiate, the less likely it is you'll be successful; in particular, you have almost no chance of getting an extension if you try for one the day before the due date, and you have no chance of getting an extention on the due date.

A late assignment is penalized five points a day for each day it's late. I use a 24-hour clock running from midnight to midnight to measure days; note this means that an assignment handed in the day after it's due is penalized ten points: five for the day it was due and five for the next day.

Missing Tests

There may occasionally be a conflict between taking a test and doing something else, particularly among those working full time. If you're going to be out of town, or on jury duty, or whatever, on a test day, let me know beforehand and we'll discuss a make-up test.

A make-up test must be scheduled to be taken by the date of the test following the missed test (or the final exam if you miss the last test). If a missed test is not made up by the time of the next test, you get a zero for the missed test.

There will be only one make up given per missed test. If more than one person misses the same test, those people will have to coordinate among themselves to pick a mutually agreeable date for the make up.


The NIST dictionary of algorithms and data structures; the Stony Brook repository of algorithms and data structures.

FreeTechBooks’ list of on-line data structures and algorithm books.

Softpanorama's old but wide ranging link page for data structures and algorithms.

Algosort's link page to algorithm pages.

Learn data structures ’n’ algorithms at home, courtesy of MIT.

This page last modified on 2 September 2008.

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