Collaborative Programming and Software Design
Prerequisites: CSC 252 and CSC 254 are required for CSC 453 and recommended for CSC 253. CSC 161, CSC 172 or equivalent is required for CSC 253.
Crosslisted: TCS 453 (same requirement as CSC 253)
Modern software is complex and more than a single person can fully comprehend. This course teaches the principles and techniques of writing modular and composable code and collaborating with others in software design. The topics include advanced concepts and techniques in modern programming languages, principles of modularity, software architecture, design patterns, software development processes, and other examples of software design. A significant portion of the assignment is a group project to develop a groupware system. Students enrolled in the class are expected to already have significant programming experience in some languages. The programming languages used in lectures are mainly Ruby, Haskell and Rust.
Fall 2020 draft schedule (see Blackboard > Course Material > 00 Schedule for updates).
Teaching Staff and office hours: Prof. Chen Ding, Fridays 11am to 12pm in Wegmans Hall (WH) 3407 and online via Zoom. TAs TBD.
Policies for grading, attendance, and academic honesty
The workload will be moderate to heavy. Be sure to read instructions for each assignment and exam carefully, start the assignment early, know where/when to seek help, and work with peers. (read more)
- 3 exams, roughly 30%
- attendance and participation, about 10%
- written homeworks, about 15%
- projects, approximately 45%
Assignments are typically handed out before Monday and due Friday midnight.
Preparation (before first class):
“No Silver Bullet — Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering” is a classic paper on software engineering written by Turing Award winner Fred Brooks in 1986. Read the paper (available here) pages 3 to 5 on the “essential difficulties” of software development and skim the rest of the paper.
“A former member of the SD10 Panel on Computing in Support of Battle Management explains why he believes the ‘star wars’ effort will not achieve its stated goals.” Read the paper (available here if accessed inside the UR network) pages 2 to 4 the section titled “Why software is unreliable.” Which of the “essential difficulties” was Parnas discussing?
You can read this and other articles by borrowing the book “Software Fundamentals” from the textbook reserve for CSC 253/453 at the Carlson Library. The lease is two hours.
Further material will be distributed through the Blackboard web site for students who have registered. Contact the instructor if you have problem accessing the site.
Textbooks (online access at learn.rochester.edu > CSC 253 > Reserves > Materials on Reserve in the Library):
(PAPL) Programming and Programming Languages, 2019 version (https://papl.cs.brown.edu/2019/)
Shriram Krishnamurthi et al.
(Also see Prof. Findler’s course EECS 321 at https://www.eecs.northwestern.edu/~robby/courses/)
|(SF) Software fundamentals : collected papers by David L. Parnas
Author: Parnas, David Lorge.
Imprint: Boston : Addison-Wesley, 2001.
On Reserve at: Carlson Library Reserve Desk 2nd Floor
Call Number: QA76.754 .P365 2001
(Lipovaca) Learn You a Haskell for Great Good!
A Beginner’s Guide
by Miran Lipovača (http://learnyouahaskell.com)
No Starch Press, April 2011.
(Rust book) The Rust Programming Language A Beginner’s Guide
by Steve Klabnik and Carol Nichols
(Schach) Object-oriented Software Engineering
Author: Schach, Stephen R.
Imprint: New York : McGraw-Hill, c2008.
Available at school book store. On Reserve at: Carlson Library Reserve Desk 2nd Floor
|(Olsen) Design patterns in Ruby [electronic resource]
Author: Olsen, Russ.
Imprint: Upper Saddle River, NJ : Addison-Wesley, c2008.
Available through Carlson Library at: Internet
|Ruby under a microscope [electronic resource] : an illustrated guide to Ruby internals
Author: Shaughnessy, Pat.
Imprint: San Francisco : No Starch Press, 
Available at school book store. Also on Reserve at: Internet
|Fundamentals of software engineering
Author: Ghezzi, Carlo.
Imprint: Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Prentice Hall, c2003.
On Reserve at: Carlson Library Reserve Desk 2nd Floor
Call Number: QA76.758 .G47 2003
|Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
Authors: Hal Abelson and Jerry Sussman and Julie Sussman
Imprint: MIT Press, 1984
Policies for CSC 2/453
The workload will be heavy. Be sure to read instructions for each assignment and exam carefully, start the assignment early, know where/when to seek help, and work with peers.
Grades will be released periodically to Blackboard, the University’s on-line course management system.
Class attendance is mandatory. Please arrive on time. I expect to start at 3:25 sharp, and late arrivals disturb the people who are already there. You are encouraged to ask or answer questions in class. I may call on you just to know what you think. As a general rule, if there’s something you don’t understand, make me stop and explain it. Other people sitting around you probably didn’t understand it either, but don’t have the nerve to say so. Likewise, let me know if I’m belaboring something that you already know.
For most lectures, I will assign reading before and after. Reading is mandatory It includes all lecture slides released to Blackboard, and textbook chapters/sections listed on the first slide of each lecture. The exams include topics covered in class and in the required reading.
A student may have a total of two extra days in all individual assignments. They can be used as either a one-day extension for two assignments, or a two-day extension for one assignment. Additional extensions are given to students who attend research/education conferences. The length of extension is roughly equal to the days of the conference plus travel. A student must inform the TA about the extension before the due time. No other late submission is permitted.
Student conduct in CSC 2/453 is governed by the College Academic Honesty Policy, the Undergraduate Laboratory Policies of the Computer Science Department, and the University’s Acceptable Use Policy for Information Technology. I worked in the academic honesty education committee in the past. I believe in these policies strongly, and will enforce them aggressively.
The following are details specific to CSC 2/453.
Exams in CSC 2/453 must be strictly individual work.
Collaboration on programming assignments among team members is of course expected. Collaboration on assignments across teams is encouraged at the level of ideas. Feel free to ask each other questions, brainstorm on algorithms, or work together at a whiteboard. You may not claim work as your own, however, unless you transform the ideas into substance by yourself. Among other things, this means that you must leave any brainstorming sessions with no written or electronic notes—only what you carry in your head.
If you use the work of others (e.g., you download a function from the web at the last minute so that you can get the rest of your project working), then (1) either you must have the author’s explicit permission or the material must be publicly available, and (2) you must label what you copied, clearly and prominently, when you hand it in. You will of course get points only for the parts of your assignment that you wrote yourself.
To minimize the temptation to steal code, all students are expected to protect any directories or on-line repositories in which they do their work.
For purposes of this class, academic dishonesty is defined as
- Any attempt to pass off work on an exam or quiz that didn’t come straight out of your own head.
- Any collaboration on assignments beyond the sharing of ideas, unless the collaborating parties clearly and prominently explain exactly who did what, at turn-in time.
- Any activity that has the effect of significantly impairing the ability of another student to learn. Examples here might include destroying the work of others, interfering with their access to resources, or deliberately providing them with misleading information.
Note that grades in CSC 2/453 are assigned on the basis of individual merit rather than relative standing, so there is no benefit—even a dishonest one—to be gained by sabotaging the work of others.
I work under the assumption that students are honest. I will not go looking for exceptions. If I discover one, however, I will come down on it very hard. Over the past few years, the department has submitted violation cases to the College Board on Academic Honesty. Many resulted in major penalties for the students involved.