INFO 150: A Mathematical Foundation for Informatics
Prof. Peter J. Haas
Course Requirements and Grading
Your grade in INFO 150 will be based on the following:
- Midterm Exams:
There will be two evening midterm exams as specified in the
syllabus. Each will count for 15% of the
course grade. You will have up to two hours for an exam that I hope
will be doable in one hour. I will make up a practice exam, similar
in length and difficulty to the real exam, and post it a week before
the real exam. I'll then post solutions to the practice exam with a
few days to go.
- Final Exam:
This will be during the December final exam period as scheduled by the
University, and will be cumulative. You will have two hours. This
exam will count for 30% of your final grade. I will give you a
practice final and solutions to it before the actual final.
- Homework/Attendance: Everyone needs to attend every class
section, as nearly as possible. Attendance is thus required, as
there will be graded activities in class. (I can grant exceptions
for medical or other conflicts, particularly if I am informed about
them in advance and documentation is provided.) Most of the written
homework will be in sets of a few problems assigned in one class
session for the very next session (or more problems but due the
following week). I may have you present solutions to these problems
in class as well as handing in a written solution. The attendance
and homework together will count 30% of the final grade, so that
each class session will count about 1%.
- Optional Project: The intent is to give those who are
struggling with their grades a chance to earn some additional credit,
without putting undue pressure on students to do additional work at
the end of the semester. Basically, I will first grade the course
ignoring the project. Then, if you do a creditable job on the
assignment and you letter grade is on a boundary (e.g., C+/B-), I will
push you to the higher grade. I will do more pushing for those on the
lower end. If you are doing well, then not doing the project will not
have a negative impact on your grade.
The assignment is a follows: you will research a topic of your choice
and make a written presentation for me by the end of
term. Here is more detail on the
Note: I recognize that this is a diverse class in
terms of experience and mathematical ability, and the grading will try to compensate for this.
To some extent my expectations as to the amount and difficulty of what you can do may
evolve over the term. Anyone I judge minimally able to go on in this area will
get at least a C.
Academic Honesty Policy
The Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), the world's largest
professional computing society, recently released an updated
Ethics, and with good reason. Given the dominant role of computer
technology in our society, ethical lapses can have disasterous
consequences. Ethical behavior begins here at UMass. The following
discussion pertains to academic honesty from the perspective of this
All work submitted must be your own in presentation. How much
outside help is allowed depends on the course component.
For more information about what constitutes academic dishonesty,
please see the Dean of
Students’ website for the general UMass academic honesty
policy. Since students are expected to be familiar with this policy
and the commonly accepted standards of academic integrity, ignorance
of such standards is not normally sufficient evidence of lack of
intent. You can take a
quiz to check your "academic integrity quotient (AIQ)".
- The exams are closed-book and no outside help is
allowed. Any cheating on an exam is grounds for an F in the
- For in-class assignments, almost anything goes as a source of
information, including the instructor and your classmates, but you
must still write up the solution in your own words so direct copying
is not allowed.
- 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.
- As per recent CICS policy, no student shall post course materials online without explicit permission of the instructor. Nor shall a student provide course materials to a third party such as StudySoup.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to making
reasonable, effective and appropriate accommodations to meet the needs
of students with disabilities and help create a barrier-free
campus. If you are in need of accommodation for a documented
disability, register with Disability Services to have an accommodation
letter sent to Prof. Haas. It is your responsibility to initiate
these services and to communicate with Prof. Haas ahead of time to manage
accommodations in a timely manner. For more information, consult the
Disability Services website at http://www.umass.edu/disability/.
Last modified 23 August 2019