CPSC 315 Programming Studio:
Fall 2011


NEWS: 12/1/11, 12:32PM (Thu)
  • [12/01/11] Final project presentation: Team 1 to 7 (12/2 Friday), Team 8 to 14 (12/5 Monday). Please send your presentation slides to the instructor by 1pm on the day of your presentation. See class email for details.
  • [12/01/11] Online course evaluation ends 12/6 (Tuesday): Pica.tamu.edu
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  • [11/21/11] Contemporary issues guest lecture today: Ben Floyd on Design Patterns Applied.
  • [11/21/11] Online course evaluation open: Pica.tamu.edu
  • [11/21/11] Instructor office hour today moved to 3pm.
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  • [11/18/11] No instructor office hour today.
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  • [11/08/11] Project 3 first team report due postponed by one day to Thursday 11/10 (11:59pm).
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  • [11/04/11] Project 3 Teams announced.
  • [11/02/11] Project 3 announced. Self study slide22 on test-driven development.
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  • [10/28/11] Steve Swenson PhDCS'98 NASA astronaut's talk: 4:00pm Geren Auditorium -- Langton. Office hour moved to 3-4pm.
  • [10/28/11] Minor corrections/clarifications in Project 2 (see "Updates" at the top).
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  • [10/25/11] How to install apk files on Android phones. Astro file manager can also be used to install apk files.
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  • [10/24/11] Project 2 deadline is 11/2 (Wed).
  • [10/24/11] No class on Wednesday (10/26).
  • [10/24/11] Android lecture 1 and Android lecture 2 by Dr. Jaerock Kwon (Kettering University). We will cover these slides this week.
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  • [10/21/11] slide21 uploaded.
  • [10/17/11] slide18, slide19, and slide20 uploaded.
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  • [10/12/11] slide16 and slide17 uploaded.
  • [10/12/11] Old announcements have been archived: News archive
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  • [10/07/11] No lecture on Monday (10/10). Come to class only if you want to meet up with your team mates.
  • [10/07/11] Instructor office hour moved to 3pm for today.
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  • [10/05/11] Neuroevolution demos (NEAT): Ken Stanley's web page
  • [10/04/11] Project 2 team announced: Project 2 team
  • [10/03/11] Advertisement: UPE: CS honor society
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  • [10/03/11] Project 2: project 2 announced. Team assignment will be announced soon.
  • [10/30/11] Some refinements on how teams are operated: based on initial participation, teams may be reorganized.
  • [10/03/11] Instructor office hour moved to 3pm for today.
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  • [LINKS] •News archiveGradesCodesLecture notes
Read-Only Bulletin Board.: 9/2/11, 12:23PM (Fri)

Page last modified: 11/9/11, 10:53AM Wednesday.

General Information Resources Weekly Schedule Credits Lecture Notes Example Code Read-Only Board

I. General Information


Dr. Yoonsuck Choe
Email: choe(a)tamu.edu
Office: HRBB 322B
Phone: 979-845-5466
Office hours: M/W/F 4pm–5pm


Timothy Mann
Email: mann(a)cse.tamu.edu
Office: HRBB 332A
Office hours: MW: 10:00am-11:00am, TR: 9:30am-11:00am
      Chris Pu
Email: shipu(a)cse.tamu.edu
Office: HRBB 503
Office hours: MW 4:00PM-5:30PM, TR 1:00PM-2:00PM


This class is intended for students who have completed CPSC 314 - Programming Languages, and are concurrently taking CPSC 313 - Intro to Computer Systems. It is meant to be somewhat of a "capstone" course for the lower-level computer science courses, before taking courses in the upper-level tracks.


MWF 1:50pm–2:40pm, HRBB 113

The course is listed as a 2-hour per week lecture, and 2-hour per week lab, however it has been intentionally scheduled for 3 hours per week of lecture (along with the lab). We will meet a minimum of 28 lecture periods over the course of the semester. The idea is to "front-load" these lectures in the earlier part of the semester, to cover material that might be useful when working on the programming projects, and spend less lecture time during the project periods themselves. Also, some days when the instructor travels might be used as some of the "missed" days. The specific list of days we will meet will be provided on the course web page.

There is a final exam time reserved for this class. Although the plan is to wrap up the course before this time, students should leave the final exam time available until instructed otherwise, since it might be used for project presentations or something similar. However, there will not be a final exam in the course.


Section 501: TR 11:10 am-12:00 pm RMDC 111C -- Chris
Section 502: MW 03:00 pm-03:50 pm RMDC 111C -- Chris
Section 503: MW 12:40 pm-01:30 pm RMDC 111C -- Tim
Section 504: TR 02:20 pm-03:10 pm RMDC 111C -- Tim


This course is intended as an intensive programming experience that integrates core concepts in Computer Science and familiarizes students with a variety of programming/development tools and techniques. Students will primarily work in small teams on month-long projects emphasizing different specializations within computer science. The course focuses on honing good programming techniques to ease code integration, reuse, and clarity.

The primary goal for this class is to have students emerge with strong programming skills, able to address both individual and team programming challenges competently. The class is meant to allow students to improve their programming skills through significant practice.


The expected accomplishments of the students are as follows:
  1. Become a confident software developer experienced in the full software development cycle.
  2. Become a capable and effective member in a small software development team.
  3. Become an effective communicator within the context of software projects.


The students who take this course should be able to demonstrate the following upon the completion of this course.
  1. Knowledge of programming and debugging tools.
  2. Knowledge of various programming paradigms.
  3. Ability to design and refine large software systems based on rough system requirements.
  4. Ability to implement and test software system design.
  5. Ability to work as a member of a software project development team.
  6. Knowledge of various software development paradigms.
  7. Ability to manage software development projects.
  8. Ability to write technical documentation regarding software systems.
  9. Ability to communicate the overall design and details of software systems.
  10. Introductory-level knowledge in database systems, artificial intelligence, and software engineering.


We will be using the following textbook: Other books that may be drawn from, and that might be useful references include both the first edition of Code Complete, as well as:

Computer Accounts:

  1. Computer accounts: if you do not have a unix account, ask for one on the CS web page.

Topics to be covered:

Among the topics to be covered in lecture periods are: Though many topics will overlap, this course is not intended to be as in-depth or comprehensive as a standard software engineering course, which focuses more on project management - students may take the software engineering class after taking this class.

Note: You should expect to spend a significant amount of time (>10 hours/week) outside of class time on programming projects. This may require meeting with team members outside of the class/lab periods.

See the Weekly Schedule section for more details.


There will be three major projects in the course, each counting for 28% of the overall grade. Specific grading practices for each project will be announced when that project is given out, but the grade may include factors such as evaluation of code clarity, teamwork, etc. Peer evaluation may be used as a significant contributing factor to these grades. The remaining 16% of the grade will be an individual grade based on individual exercises, quizzes, participation in the course survey, and an evaluation of class participation (which might include participation in code reviews). Individual assignments will be small programming assignments to be completed on an individual basis.

The 16% of the grade will start off as being based totally on instructor judgement of class participation and effort. As the course progresses, any quizzes given out, individual assignments given out, or other specific graded material will note the portion of this individual grade which that quiz/assignment/etc. affects. The remainder of the individual grade will be based on the subjective class participation and effort grade. For example, if there are 8 quizzes at 1% each, one individual assignment at 4%, and participating in the course evaluation is 2%, then the remaining 2% is based on the subjective evaluation.

The grading scale expected to be used is ? 90% > B ? 80% > C ? 70% > D ? 60% > F. In addition to this, the instructor reserves the right to provide a relative or absolute curve to the final class grade (note that such a curve has not always been applied, and should not be assumed). Also, the instructor may raise the grades of any students near a borderline based on a subjective evaluation of class participation and effort.

Academic Integrity:

AGGIE HONOR CODE: An Aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal or tolerate those who do.

Upon accepting admission to Texas A&M University, a student immediately assumes a commitment to uphold the Honor Code, to accept responsibility for learning, and to follow the philosophy and rules of the Honor System. Students will be required to state their commitment on examinations, research papers, and other academic work. Ignorance of the rules does not exclude any member of the TAMU community from the requirements or the processes of the Honor System.

For additional information please visit: http://www.tamu.edu/aggiehonor/

For this class, certain aspects of the honor code need to be clarified.

  1. There may be times in this course where you or your team make use of external code/software/libraries. Whenever this is done, you must make sure that, in addition to following any restrictions on that code itself, you clearly document what the source of the external code was, and how it was used.
  2. There may be cases in this course where you or your team seeks outside assistance related to one of the projects. Any assistance received from people other than members of your team, the professor, teaching assistant, or peer teacher needs to be clearly documented.
  3. You will be working in team environments in this course, and your work as a team will be used to determine grades. As such, it is your responsibility, when asked, to:
    • accurately describe the work that you have done on a team project. Claiming credit for work that you have not done or that others did instead is a violation of the code.
    • accurately describe (to the best of your knowledge) the performance of other team members. "Covering" for another team member (claiming they did more work than you know they did) or "spiking" them (claiming they did less work than you know they did) are examples of honor code violations.
    • prevent (as best you can) or report (known) violations of the honor code by your other team members. You share responsibility when a project is turned in; if you are aware of a teammate having violated the code in his/her work on the project, and do not report it, you are claiming credit for that violation yourself.
If there are any questions or concerns about whether an action is appropriate, you should check with the professor or teaching assistant first. If in doubt, assume that it is not appropriate.

Course Policy:

Students with Disabilities:

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Department of Student Life, Services for Students with Disabilities, in Cain Hall or call 845-1637.

II. Resources

  1. TBA

III. Weekly Schedule and Class Notes

Notices and Dues
1 8/29 Introduction; Project 1: Intro to Databases. [LAB this week] Naming, Style, Commenting, Basic parsing Chapters 1, 4, 7, 11, 31, 32 (these chapters are generally pretty short)     slide01.pdf
1 8/31 Project 1: Entity-relationship model, relational DB, SQL Schema       slide03.pdf
1 9/2 Project 1: SQL queries, Database implementation   Project 1 announced (and team assignment)   slide05.pdf
2 9/5 Guest lecture: Long Mai @ Improving. [Lab this week] Unit testing, IDE and SVN, Project 1 API design Guest lecture topic: Unit testing, TDD; Chapter 30    
2 9/7 API design       slide07.pdf
2 9/9 General software design principles Chapter 5     slide08.pdf
3 9/12 Testing [Lab this week] Using the debugger; testing; project 1: table storage, table formatting, parser Chapter 22     slide09.pdf
3 9/14 Debugging, Software development approaches Chapter 23     slide10.pdf
3 9/16 Guest lecture: Long Mai @ Improving Agile development; Long Mai's agile resources     slide12.pdf
4 9/19 Project 2: Introduction to AI       slide13.pdf
4 9/21 Project 2: Search       slide14.pdf
4 9/23 Project 2: Search, Game Search No class Instructor will come to class to answer questions regarding project 1. Attendence optional.    
5 9/26 Guest lecture: Mike Abney @ Improving Agile Estimation    
5 9/28 Guest lecture: Allen Hurst @ Improving Domain Modeling    
5 9/30 Project 2: Game search       slide14.pdf
6 10/3 Project 2: Network protocols and socket programming Mani Radhakrishnan and Jon Solworth's lecture slides will be used Project 2 TBA (and team assignment) Project 1 due
6 10/5 Advanced AI: Neuroevolution       slide15.pdf
6 10/7 Project 1 presentation (presentation by top team in each section)      
7 10/10 No Class Come to class if you want to meet up with your team.    
7 10/12 Collaborative software development,Design patterns Chapter 21     slide16.pdf
7 10/14 Design patterns       slide17.pdf
8 10/17 Code portability, Code performance       slide18.pdf
8 10/19 Code tuning, XML Chapters 25, 26     slide19.pdf
8 10/21 XML; project 2 Q/A and team meet-up       slide21.pdf
9 10/24 Project 3: Android introduction Lecture notes by Dr. Jaerock Kwon (Kettering University)    
9 10/26 Project 3: Android introduction No Class      
9 10/28 Project 3 test-driven development; announcement       slide22.pdf
10 10/31 No class      
10 11/2 No class   Project 3 announced Project 2 due
10 11/4 No class      
11 11/7 Project 2 presentation (live competition)        
11 11/9 Guest lecture: Chris Weldon @ Improving SOLID principles    
11 11/11 No class      
12 11/14 Guest lecture: Latish Seghal Continuously Improving as a Developer    
12 11/16 No class      
12 11/18 Project 3 Q/A session and progress checkup      
13 11/21 Guest lecture: Ben Floyd @ Improving Design Patterns Applied    
13 11/23 No class      
13 11/25 No class: Thanksgiving      
14 11/28 No class      
14 11/30 No class     Project 3 due 12/1 11:59pm
14 12/2 Project 3 presentations (all teams)      
15 12/5 Project 3 presentations (all teams) and course wrap-up      

IV. Credits

Most of the course content and lecture slides were originally developed by Prof. John Keyser. Thanks to Long Mai and Allen Hurst at Improving Enterprises for valuable feedback.

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