Lab exercises and project assignments will be posted here weekly each Monday. The usual deadline is the following Monday night at midnight. But there are some exceptions. Notice this means that you will be beginning lab i+1 and project i+1 in the lab on Monday afternoon and then finishing lab i and handing in project i on Monday night.

Section A, B
Semester Spring 2017
Date Time, Location
  • Section A: M 2:30 - 3:50 pm, Davis 102
  • Section B: T 1:00 - 2:20 pm, Davis 102
Instructor Ying Li
Office: Davis 115
Phone: (207)-859-5852
Office hours: M 1:00 - 2:30 pm, 4:00 - 5:00 pm, T 2:30 - 5:00 pm, W 2:30 - 4:00 pm, R 1:00 - 2:30 pm
If the door is open and I'm not already in a meeting, feel free to come in.
Course Goals The learning goals for the lecture and lab are the same -- both are meant to work together to accomplish the goals for the course as a whole. They are
  1. Students understand the advantages and disadvantages of fundamental data structures and can implement them using object-oriented design principles.
  2. Students understand, can implement, and can calculate the time and space efficiency of classic search, sort, and traversal algorithms, including the use of big-Oh notation.
  3. Students understand the tradeoffs between different implementations of data structures and algorithms and can make appropriate design decisions based on application data requirements.
  4. Students can use fundamental data structures and algorithms appropriately to solve a variety of computational problems.
  5. Students can communicate the result of their work and describe an algorithm.
Labs and Projects

The work in lab will lead into and be part of the week's project. Labs will also count significantly towards participation.

During each lab, the instructor will not be able to answer questions about any projects until you have completed the exercises for that lab.

Programming projects involve completing more significant programs as well as a writeup describing the work completed in the project.


The grading policy for projects is designed to support three aspects of software production that are important for any computer scientist to have: high quality code, effective communication to the software's user or future programmer, and coding creativity and initiative. Each project has 30 points associated with it:

  • Completing programming tasks with well-designed, working code (up to 22 points)
  • Completing the write-up according to the instructions (up to 3 points). There were will 3-5 mini writing lessons throughout the semester. Each write-up will be graded based on whether or not it meets the standards set in the mini lessons.
  • Extensions (up to 5 points). The written instructions will include a variety of extensions to the assignment, or you can come up with your own. Completing one or more extensions is typical. Extensions are graded on quality and complexity -- not simply by counting the number of extensions.
Submission, Late Policy

You are expected to finish your write-up on Wiki and submit your source codes to filer before the deadline of each project.

Every student is allowed a free 4-day extension to one project. Let us know when you are taking your "freebie". Other late projects will be given reduced grades. Programming projects are graded on a 30 point scale. For each day late (up to four days), your grade will be reduced by 3 points. Projects more than four days late will not be accepted. Also, the freebie will not be accepted if it is submitted more than 4 days after the due date.

Java Version

In the lab, we are have installed Java 1.8 (also referred to as Java Platform Standard Edition 8). You may have an older version on your computer (which is fine, as long as it is version 1.5 or later). Here are the links to the APIs for the most recent versions:

  • If using the Terminal application on a Mac is new to you, or you need a refresher, please check out the Terminal tutorial.
  • Before you start writing code, please take a look at the coding style guide.
  • You probably want to keep your code on your network directory.

    Mac OSX smb://

    Windows \\\personal

    Once mounted, If you are using a terminal on a Mac, you can get to the working directory using

    cd /Volumes/personal/

    From the Finder you can also drag any folder onto a Terminal window and it will create the complete path to the folder.

Coding Requirements

When you write a class, always include a main function for the class that tests out its capabilities. The main function should try creating a class object and calling the methods of that class. Ideally, a test function should try out all of the class methods and access all of the class variables. Having a proper test function for each class will be part of the grade for each assignment.

Important: Write complete tests for each class before you try to use the class somewhere else. For example, before you try to use the class A in class B, you should be sure the class A functions properly on its own. Get in this habit early; it will help you avoid a lot of frustration that comes when integrating even moderately complex systems.

Collaboration, Academic honesty

Computer science, both academically and professionally, is a collaborative discipline. In any collaboration, however, all parties are expected to make their own contributions and to generously credit the contributions of others. In our class, therefore, collaboration on homework and programming assignments is encouraged, but you as an individual are responsible for understanding all the material in the assignment and doing your own work. Always strive to do your best, give generous credit to others, start early, and seek help early from both your professors and classmates.

The following rules are intended to help you get the most out of your education and to clarify the line between honest and dishonest work. We reserve the right to ask you to verbally explain the reasoning behind any answer or code that you turn in and to modify your project grade based on your answers. It is vitally important that you turn in work that is your own. We do use automated plagiarism detection software, so please be sure to abide by these, rather minimal, rules. Reports of academic dishonesty are handled by an academic review board and a finding of academic dishonesty may result in significant sanctions. For more details on Colby's Academic Integrity policies and procedures, see

  • If you have had a substantive discussion of any homework or programming solution with a classmate, then be sure to cite them in your write-up. If you are unsure of what constitutes "substantive", then ask me or err on the side of caution. As one rule of thumb, if you see more than 10 lines of someone else's code, then you should cite them. You will not be penalized for working together.
  • You must not copy answers or code from another student either by hand or electronically. Another way to think about it is that you should be talking English with one another, not program languages.
The Colby Affirmation

Colby College is a community dedicated to learning and committed to the growth and well-being of all its members.

As a community devoted to intellectual growth, we value academic integrity. We agree to take ownership of our academic work, to submit only work that is our own, to fully acknowledge the research and ideas of others in our work, and to abide by the instructions and regulations governing academic work established by the faculty.

As a community built on respect for ourselves, each other, and our physical environment, we recognize the diversity of people who have gathered here and that genuine inclusivity requires active, honest, and compassionate engagement with one another. We agree to respect each other, to honor community expectations, and to comply with College policies.

As a member of this community, I pledge to hold myself and others accountable to these values. More ...

Title IX Statement

Colby College prohibits and will not tolerate sexual misconduct or gender-based discrimination of any kind. Colby is legally obligated to investigate sexual misconduct (including, but not limited to sexual assault and sexual harassment).

If you wish to speak confidentially about an incident of sexual misconduct, please contact Colby Counseling Services (207-859-4490) or the Director of the Gender and Sexual Diversity Program, Emily Schusterbauer (207-859-4093).

Students should be aware that faculty members are considered responsible employees; as such, if you disclose an incident of sexual misconduct to a faculty member, they have an obligation to report it to Colby's Title IX Coordinator. "Disclosure" may include communication in-person, via email/phone/text, or through class assignments.

To learn more about sexual misconduct or report an incident, visit

© 2017 Ying Li. Page last modified: .