CS 520 Computer Science Foundations - Syllabus

Term and Credits

Fall 2017-2018
3 Credits

Room and Time

Monday 6:00pm-8:50pm Room Science Center 3401 Market St Room 326

Monday lecture will be recorded for online section


Mark Boady
Electronic Mail Address: mwb33@drexel.edu
Office: University Crossings 138
Extention: 215-895-2347
Office Hours: Monday 3-4PM, Tuesday 3-5PM, Thursday 3-4PM, other days/times by Appointment

Teaching Assistant(s)

Alex Duff
Electronic Mail Address: amd435@drexel.edu
Office: Drexel CLC UC 152
Office Hours: Wednesday 4:00pm-6:00pm, Friday 12:00pm-2:00pm

Course Description

Survey of basic mathematics concepts needed for the study of computer science at the graduate level: induction, iteration, recursion; analysis of program running time; graphs and trees; predicate logic; regular expressions, Context Free Grammars, and Turing Machines.

Course Objective and Goals

  1. Learn to analyze the running time of iterative and recursive algorithms.
  2. Learn to prove properties of algorithms and data structures using induction.
  3. Gain familiarity with basic data structures and algorithms related to them, such as trees and graphs.
  4. Learn the limits and applications of regular expressions, context free grammars, and turing machines.
  5. Learn relationships between languages and automata.
  6. Learn to use logic to prove properties of algorithms.

Audience and Purpose within Plan of Study

This course is for graduate students with little or no prior knowledge of data structures and algorithms. It serves to give such students a firm foundation for future graduate study, and it is a requirement of the Computer Science Minor and Computer Science Post Bachelor Certificate degree programs.


What Students Should Know Prior to this Course

  1. Ability to read and understand code.
  2. Basic understanding of program execution.

What Students will be able to do upon Successfully Completing this Course:

  1. Students will be able to analyze algorithms.
  2. Students will understand a set of fundamental algorithms and how to apply them.
  3. Students will be able to prove properties of algorithms using induction, proof by contradiction, and predicate logic.
  4. Students will be able to apply regular expressions and context free grammars to parse strings.
  5. Students will be able to determine the applications and limits of data structures, algorithms, and languages.


We will use free resources for this class.

Book of Proof (Second Edition)
Richard Hammack
Paperback: ISBN 978-0-9894721-0-4
Hardcover: ISBN 978-0-9894721-1-1
Available for Free online at: http://www.people.vcu.edu/~rhammack/BookOfProof/

Introduction to Theory of Computation
Anil Maheshwari and Michiel Smid
Available for Free online at: http://cglab.ca/~michiel/TheoryOfComputation/

Supplemental Texts

If you want a textbook about the Algorithms we will be studying, I recommend this one. It is not required.

Algorithms (4th Edition)
Robert Sedgewick, Kevin Wayne
ISBN-10: 032157351X
ISBN-13: 860-1400041420
See it on Amazon


All homework assignments will be submitted electornically through learning.drexel.edu. The majority of assignments will be written. Some programming will be required.

Assignments will be submitted to learning.drexel.edu by 11:59PM on the date they are due. Grades will be reported via learning.drexel.edu.

Written Assignments must be submitted as PDFs. They may be typed or scanned, but only PDF files will be accepted.

Assignments and exams will be returned on a regular basis to provide feedback to students.

Assignments may be submitted late at 10% penalty per day for 5 days following the due date. Selected assignment answers will be reviewed in class. Once the answers have been shown in class, the homework may no longer be submitted.

Special Circumstances: If you have a documented reason why you cannot submit a homework by the cut-off deadline, a special exception may be made. The Professor may also wave the late submission penalty for documented special exceptions.


Tests will be completed through learning.drexel.edu. Tests will be posted online for approximately one week. A test will have a fixed time limit. The time limit will start when the student downloads the test. The answers much be submitted during the time limit. The test may be started at any point during the week.


Lectures will be recorded and posted to Echo360 Accessible through learning.drexel.edu.

Discussion Boards

A discussion board will be created in Piazza for students and linked in learning.drexel.edu. Students from both sections will have access to the same discussion board.

Academic Honesty Policy

The CCI Academic Honesty policy is in effect for this course. Please see the policy at http://drexel.edu/cci/resources/current-students/undergraduate/policies/cs-academic-integrity/.

Academic Honesty Violations will be reported to the University. Punishment will be determined by the severity of the incident. Punishments include, but are not limited to,

Grading and Policies

Final grades will be determined by your total points weighted according to this distribution. Grades may be curved but are generally computed via the formula below. It may be modified at the instructor's sole discretion, but letter grades will generally not be lower than those shown here.

Computer/Software Help
iCommons: http://drexel.edu/cci/about/our-facilities/rush-building/iCommons/

University Policies
In addition to the course policies listed on this syllabus, course assignments or course website, the following University policies are in effect:


  1. Graphs
  2. Searching
  3. Sorting
  4. Proof Methods
  5. Computational Models: DFA, CFG, Turing Machines

Tentative Course Schedule

Please see the appropriate assignment webpages for a detailed description of course deliverables.

Week Topic Reading Assignment
1 (9/25/17) Binary Numbers, Circuits, Boolean Logic Chapter 2 for Book of Proof
Binary Numbers
Logic Circuits
Binary Addition
Logic Simulator
Number Representations
2 (10/2/17) DFA and NFA: Simple Models of Computation Chapter 2 for Theory of Computation
DFA/NFA Simulator
HW1 Due Sunday Oct 8th 11:59PM
3 (10/9/17) Class Cancelled for Columbus Day HW2 Due Sunday Oct 15th 11:59PM
4 (10/16/17) Turing Machines and Simple Programs Church-Turing Thesis
Chapter 3 from Theory of Computation
Turing Machine Simulator
Assembly Introduction
The NASM Language
Assembly Simulator
HW3 Due Sunday Oct 22 11:59PM
5 (10/23/17) Context Free Grammars Chapter 3 from Theory of Computation HW4 Due Sunday Oct 29th 11:59PM
6 (10/30/17) Introduction to Algorithms Linear Search
Binary Search
Big Oh Notation
Asymptotic Notations
Midterm Online Due Sunday Nov 5th 11:59PM
7 (11/6/17) Sorting Algorithms and Induction Merge Sort
Quick Sort
Insertion Sort
Tower of Hanoi
Chapter 10 (Induction) from Book of Proof
HW5 Due Sunday Nov 12th 11:59PM
8 (11/13/17) Intro to Trees Binary Search Trees
Huffman Codes
Heaps/Priority Queues
HW6 Due Sunday Nov 19th 11:59PM
9 (11/20/17) Intro to Graphs Graph Representations
Depth First Search
Breadth First Search
Prim's Algorithm
Kruskal's Algorithm
No HW Due for Thanksgiving!
10 (11/27/17) Shortest Paths Floyd-Warshall
A* and Dijkstra
HW7 Due Sunday Dec 3th 11:59PM
11 (12/4/17) Limitations of Computers Chapters 5 and 6 from Theory of Computation HW8 Due Sunday Dec 10 11:59PM
12 (12/11/17) Final Online Due Dec 17th 11:59PM - No In Class Events this week