University of Virginia, Department of Computer Science
CS201J: Engineering Software, Fall 2003

CS201J: Engineering Software — Syllabus

Course Description. This course is about techniques and tools for constructing robust, complex and secure software.

Differences from CS201: Although this course does not cover everything in CS201, it counts equivalently to CS201 as a prerequisite and towards degree requirements. CS201J will cover many things not traditionally covered by CS201.

The main differences between CS201J and CS201 are:

Students who take CS201J may need to learn some things on their own that are covered in CS201 and expected background in CS216. In particular, we will not cover C++ in this course, so you may need to learn some details about C++ yourself.

Expected Background: Students are expected to be able to write and understand short programs. Students are not assumed to know any particular programming language. Students should have passed CS101 or CS200 or have equivalent experience.

Meetings: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:30-1:45 in MEC 339.

Section meetings: Fridays at 10am, 11am and 12 noon in THN D115.

Textbook: Barbara Liskov with John Guttag, Program Development in Java: Abstraction, Specification, and Object-Oriented Design, Addison-Wesley, 2000. Additional readings will be selected from other sources.

Web page: This page is updated often and students are expected to visit it regularly (almost every day). All lectures, notes and assignments for the course will be posted on the web site.


Coach: David Evans

phone x2-2218 (office), 293-9688 (home)
officeOlsson, 236A
office hours Tuesdays, 2:30-3:30pm; other times arranged by email or after class

Assistant Coaches:

Leonid Bolotnyy (
John Franchak (
Joyce Lin (
Tiffany Nichols (
Mike Peck (
Katie Winstanley (
Staffed lab hours in Small Hall:
Sundays 4-6 (Mike), 5-7 (Joyce)
Mondays 7-8:30 (Katie), 7:30-9 (Tiffany)
Wednesdays 4-6 (John)
Lab hours are subject to adjustment, check the
course web site for changes.

Email: Send mail to to reach the whole course staff.


Problem Sets. There will be seven problem sets that involve both written questions and programming problems. Some problem sets will be done in teams. We expect doing the problem sets will be the best way to learn the course material.

Exams. There will be two take-home exams during the semester (Oct 3-7 and Nov 21-25) and a final. All exams will be open book and open notes.

Collaboration Policy

Your fellow students are your best resource. In general, students are encouraged to discuss readings and assignments in study groups. Some assignments may have a specific collaboration policy, which should be explained clearly on the assignment. If this is ever unclear, ask the instructor. Exams must be done alone.

Students are encouraged to consult outside sources, including human experts (except on exams). Always list the resources you used (students, outside experts, papers, web sites) on your submission. You may not consult problem sets from previous versions of CS201J without express permission.

All students are required to sign the course pledge. Individual assignments and exams do not need to have signed pledges — students are implicitly assumed to be honest and honorable.


Grading will be based on approximately the following weighting:

Problem Sets50 (40-70)
Exam 115 (5-15)
Exam 220 (10-40)
Final15 (15-50)
Class Contribution0 (0-10)

Grades will be tabulated varying the weights assigned to each category in several different ways using the ranges above. Some of those weightings will drop the lowest problem set score. In general, the weighting that is best for you is used.

Regardless of these weightings, all students who put an honest effort into all the assignments and convince me it would be reasonable to trust them to design and implement an important program will receive an A in the course.

CS201J University of Virginia
Department of Computer Science
CS 201J: Engineering Software
Sponsored by the
National Science Foundation