CMPSCI 240: Reasoning About Uncertainty
David Mix Barrington
Course Requirements and Grading
Your grade in CMPSCI 240 will be based on the following:
DRAFT! This may change before the course starts.
- Midterm Exams (30%):
There will be three midterm exams each counting 10% of your grade, on Fridays
20 February, 13 March (the day before spring break), and 17 April, using
both the lecture and discussion period. I will write an exam intended
to be finished in an hour, and give you from 10:10-12:05 to finish it.
(Over the years my students have accused me of overestimating what they
ought to be able to finish in an hour.) As this course has never been taught
in exactly this format before, there are few prior exams of mine on the web.
But I will post a
practice exam (with solution)
for each midterm, similar in length and content, about a week
before the real exam.
- Final Exam (25%):This will be during the May final exam period
as scheduled by the University, and will be cumulative. You will have two
hours. This exam will count for 25% of your final grade, except that
I will count it for 50%, and reduce the weights of all other components
proportionally, if this is to your advantage. The Spring 2008 final from
CMPSCI 291b can serve as a practice exam for the final.
- Homework (15%): There will be four homework assignments during the term.
Together they will count for 15% of your final grade (the worst of the four
will count 3%, the others 4%). Late homework will in general not be
accepted -- we'll deal with valid excuses by giving "excused" grades on
- Discussions (10%): Seven of the Friday discussion periods will have
in-class writing assignments, usually based on "Excursion" sections of the
text. You will be divided randomly into groups of two or three and each group
will hand in a response to the assignment. These will be graded "check" (B)
or "check-plus" (A), and the best six of your seven will count for 10% of your
- Programming Projects (20%):
Each section of the course will have a
programming project for which you will hand in code. The first project will
be individual, and later ones may allow (student-chosen) pairs to work together.
Note that exam and homework
questions may refer to the body of code in the projects. The four assignments
will count for 5% of your grade each. Note that four of the Friday discussion
periods are devoted to introducing or working on the programming projects.
Academic Honesty Policy
All work submitted must be your own in presentation. How much
outside help is allowed depends on the course component.
- The exams are
closed-book and no outside help is allowed. Any cheating on an exam
is grounds for an F in the course.
- For work on the programming projects, almost anything goes
as a source of information, including the instructor, TA, and your classmates,
but anything you present as your own work must actually be yours.
- With homework the situation is in between and the rule
harder to specify. You may discuss homework with other students, in
fact I encourage this as a learning experience. But again, the writeup must
be your work. Copying is not allowed, and collaboration so close that it
looks like copying is not allowed. (In general, if I get two identical
homeworks I will accept neither of them (i.e., both get F's)
and will give you a stern warning
that could lead to formal action the next time.) A good practice is to divide
your work into an "ideas phase" where you collaborate and a "writeup phase"
where you work alone -- enter the writeup phase with notes, but not written
- If you make use of a printed or on-line source for the homework, other
than specific course materials such as the textbook or web site, please
mention it in your writeup. Of course copying a solution to a problem from
the web is cheating, and this is easier for us to detect than you might think.
Last modified 20 January 2009