CMSC 631, Fall 2011

Program Analysis and Understanding

Syllabus

Subject to change, especially until the start of the semester. Last modified on September 3, 2011.

Grading and Expectations

The final course grade will be made up of the following components:

  • Homework and Programming Assignments (40%) During the semester, there will be several short written homework assignments; a few programming assignments; and assignments using the Coq proof assistant.
  • Project (25%) You will be expected to complete a substantial research project during the semester. Projects may be completed individually or in pairs. For more details, see the projects page.
  • Participation and Presentation (10%) You will present your project to the class, and if there is time, we will include student presentations of existing papers (probably on static analysis tools). The criteria for grading presentations are given below. You will also be graded on contributions to class discussion.
  • Final Exam (25%) This course will include a final exam, which will cover material from the homeworks, programming assginments, and other lecture material.

Late Policy

Written assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date. Programming assignments (or assignments developed in Coq) are due at midnight on the due date. Neither written nor programming assignments may be turned in late. If you cannot make a due date because of extenuating circumstances, or because it conflicts with a religious holiday, please inform the instructor as soon as possible.

Presentations

Student presentations will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • Understanding: does the presenter understand the problem in a larger context, and place the solution within it?
  • Background/perspective: does the presenter understand the relevant related work?
  • Clarity: can the audience understand the presentation? is the "big picture" clear? are there useful examples?
  • Materials: do the slides or use of blackboard illustrate and support the talk? are there diagrams to help convey the technicalities? (when your talk gets into deep territory, a diagram is worth 10K words)
  • Delivery: has the the presenter practiced?
  • Answering questions: can the presenter handle questions from the audience?

Academic Integrity

The Campus Senate has adopted a policy asking students to include the following statement on each examination or assignment in every course: "I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this examination (or assignment)." Consequently, you will be requested to include this pledge on each exam and project. Please also carefully read the Office of Information Technology's policy regarding acceptable use of computer accounts.

Programming projects are to be written individually, therefore cooperation or use of unauthorized materials on projects is a violation of the University's Code of Academic Integrity. Any evidence of this, or of unacceptable use of computer accounts, use of unauthorized materials or cooperation on exams or quizzes, or other possible violations of the Honor Code, will be submitted to the Student Honor Council, which could result in an XF for the course, suspension, or expulsion.

  • For learning the course concepts (including the programming languages), students are welcome to study together or to receive help from anyone else. You may discuss with others the project requirements, the features of the programming languages used, what was discussed in class and in the class web forum, and general syntax errors. Examples of questions that would be allowed are "Does a Java class definition end in a semicolon?" or "What does a 'class not found' error indicate?", because they convey no information about the contents of a project.
  • When it comes to actually writing a project assignment, other than help from the instructional staff a project must solely and entirely be your own work. Working with another student or individual, or using anyone else's work in any way except as noted in this paragraph, is a violation of the code of academic integrity and will be reported to the Honor Council. You may not discuss design of any part of a project with anyone except the instructor or teaching assistants. Examples of questions you may not ask others might be "How did you implement this part of the project?" or "Please look at my code and help me find my stupid syntax error!". You may not use any disallowed source of information in creating either their project design or code. When writing projects you are free to use ideas or short fragments of code from published textbooks or publicly available information, but the specific source must be cited in a comment in the relevant section of the program.

Violations of the Code of Academic Integrity may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Failing to do all or any of the work on a project by yourself, other than assistance from the instructional staff.
  2. Using any ideas or any part of another person's project, or copying any other individual's work in any way.
  3. Giving any parts or ideas from your project, including test data, to another student.
  4. Allowing any other students access to your program on any computer system.
  5. Transferring any part of a project to or from another student or individual by any means, electronic or otherwise.

If you have any question about a particular situation or source then consult with the instructors in advance. Should you have difficulty with a programming assignment you should see the instructional staff in office hours, and not solicit help from anyone else in violation of these rules.

It is the responsibility, under the honor policy, of anyone who suspects an incident of academic dishonesty has occurred to report it to their instructor, or directly to the Honor Council.

Every semester the department has discovered a number of students attempting to cheat on project assignments, in violation of academic integrity requirements. Students' academic careers have been significantly affected by a decision to cheat. Think about whether you want to join them before contemplating cheating, or before helping a friend to cheat.

You are welcome and encouraged to study and compare or discuss their implementations of the programming projects with any others after they are graded, provided that all of the students in question have received nonzero scores for that project assignment, and if that project will not be extended upon in a later project assignment.

Excused Absences

Besides the policies in this syllabus, the University's policies apply during the semester. Various policies that may be relevant appear in the Undergraduate Catalog.

If you experience difficulty during the semester keeping up with the academic demands of your courses, you may consider contacting the Learning Assistance Service in 2201 Shoemaker Building at (301) 314-7693. Their educational counselors can help with time management issues, reading, note-taking, and exam preparation skills.

Any student who needs to be excused for an absence from a single lecture, recitation, or lab due to a medically necessitated absence shall: a) Make a reasonable attempt to inform the instructor of his/her illness prior to the class. b) Upon returning to the class, present their instructor with a self-signed note attesting to the date of their illness. Each note must contain an acknowledgment by the student that the information provided is true and correct. Providing false information to University officials is prohibited under Part 9(h) of the Code of Student Conduct (V-1.00(B) University of Maryland Code of Student Conduct) and may result in disciplinary action. c) This self-documentation may not be used for the Major Scheduled Grading Events as defined below and it may only be used for only 1 class meeting during the semester.

Any student who needs to be excused for a prolonged absence (2 or more consecutive class meetings) or for a Major Scheduled Grading Event, the student must provide written documentation of the illness from the Health Center or from an outside health care provider. This documentation must verify dates of treatment and indicate the timeframe that the student was unable to meet academic responsibilities. No diagnostic information shall be given. The Major Scheduled Grading Events for this course include the midterm exam date.

It is the University's policy to provide accommodations for students with religious observances conflicting with exams, but it is the your responsibility to inform the instructor in advance of intended religious observances. Written notice must be provided immediately upon an exam date being announced or confirmed in order for an absence to be excused. If you have a conflict with one of the planned exams, you must inform us prior to the end of the first two weeks of the class.

For missed exams due to excused absences, the instructor will arrange a makeup exam. However, unless immediate notice is given as early as possible of the reason for any missed coursework, an excused absence may not be granted. If you might miss an exam for any other reason other than those above, you must contact the instructor in advance to discuss the circumstances. We are not obligated to offer a substitute assignment or to provide a makeup exam unless the failure to perform was due to an excused absence.

The policies for excused absences do not apply to project assignments. Projects will be assigned with sufficient time to be completed by students who have a reasonable understanding of the necessary material and begin promptly. In cases of extremely serious documented illness of lengthy duration or other protracted, severe emergency situations, the instructor may consider extensions on project assignments, depending upon the specific circumstances.

Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who have been certified by Disability Support Services as needing any type of special accommodations should see the instructor as soon as possible, during the schedule adjustment period. All arrangements for exam accommodations as a result of disability must be made and arranged with the instructor at least three business days prior to the exam date, or accommodations will not be made.

Course Evaluations

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If you are a teaching assistant, be sure to encourage your students to complete course evaluations at the same time you are completing your own.

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