CS 503, Advanced Programming I

CS 503 - Advanced Programming I

Spring 2006

I hate data structures; people can change them.

--- Alan Kay, Croquet Presentation
2003 April 25, Stanford University

Table of Contents

Course Description

This is a course in data structures and algorithms. See the CS 503 course catalog entry for more information.

The prerequisites for this class are CS 501B, Program Development.

The course is divided into seven two-week sections. See the syllabus for details.

The class meets in Howard Hall L512 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00 p.m. to 7:50 p.m. There will be no classes during Spring Break, 7 and 9 March. Monday, 27 March is the last day to withdraw from class with a W on your transcript.


At the end of this course you should will

  1. know some basic data structures and algorithms,

  2. be able to choose wisely among data structures and algorithms, and

  3. design and write code supporting data structures and algorithms well.


R. Clayton, Howard Hall B-13, rclayton@monmouth.edu, 732 263 5522. Office hours are from 5 to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in my office (schedule). Set up an appointment to meet at times other than the scheduled ones.


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
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 for this class is the average of two grades quiz grades and assignment grades with the following weights:

    35%quiz grades
    65%assignment grades

The final grades.


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

Programming Assignments

There will be seven programming assignments; each assignment is two weeks long.



The textbook for this course is ADTs, Data Structures, and Problem Solving with C++, second edition, with errata by Larry Nyhoff, Prentice Hall, 2004.

An annotated bibliography of other books of interest.


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 will be 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/s06-503/index.html. I'll make the class notes, assignments, and quizzes available off the syllabus; you should get in the habit of checking the home page and syllabus regularly.



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 me or 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.


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.

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.

This page last modified on 20 May 2006.