Software engineers today are less likely to design data structures and algorithms from scratch and more likely to build systems from library and framework components. In this course, students engage with concepts related to the construction of software systems at scale, building on their understanding of the basic building blocks of data structures, algorithms, program structures, and computer structures. The course covers technical topics in four areas: (1) concepts of design for complex systems, (2) object oriented programming, (3) static and dynamic analysis for programs, and (4) concurrent and distributed software. Student assignments involve engagement with complex software such as distributed massively multi-player game systems and frameworks for graphical user interaction.
After completing this course, students will:
- Have experience designing medium-scale systems with patterns
- Have experience testing and analyzing your software
- Understand principles of concurrency and distributed systems
See a more detailed list of learning goals describing what we want students to know or be able to do by the end of the semester. We evaluate whether learning goals have been achieved through assignments and exams.
Tu/Th 11:50 - 1:10 p.m. in DH 2315
Our TAs also provide an additional 18h of office hours each week, usually in TCS 310, see details in the calendar.
The instructors have an open door policy: If the instructors' office doors are open and no-one else is meeting with us, we are happy to answer any course-related questions. Also, feel free to email us for appointments.
We are planning significant changes to the course this semester. The schedule below is a rough draft of our plans, but likely to change.
|Tue, Aug 31||Intro|
|Wed, Sep 1||rec 1 Introduction to Git|
|Thu, Sep 2||OO basics, Dynamic dispatch, Encapsulation|
|Tue, Sep 7||IDEs, Build system, Continuous Integration, Libraries||Required: Effective Java, Items 15 and 16|
|Wed, Sep 8||rec 2 IDEs, Build systems, Libraries, CI|
|Sun, Sep 12||hw due 1 Intro to OO and Libraries|
|Tue, Sep 14||Test case design||Unit Testing Best Practices|
|Wed, Sep 15||rec 3 Unit testing|
|Thu, Sep 16||Object-oriented analysis & UML|
|Sun, Sep 19||hw due 2 Testing|
|Tue, Sep 21||Responsibility assignment||UML and Patterns, Ch. 9--11, 15-17|
|Wed, Sep 22||rec 4 Design and UML|
|Thu, Sep 23||Design patterns|
|Mon, Sep 27||hw due 3 Intro to Design|
|Tue, Sep 28||Inheritance and delegation||Design Patterns Explained on Observer and Decorator|
|Wed, Sep 29||rec 5 Inheritance and Delegation|
|Thu, Sep 30||Midterm 1|
|Tue, Oct 5||Refactoring and Anti-patterns|
|Wed, Oct 6||rec 6 Anti-patterns and refactoring|
|Thu, Oct 7||Asynchrony and Concurrency|
|Mon, Oct 11||hw due 4 Improving Designs with Refactoring|
|Tue, Oct 12||Basic GUI concepts, HTML|
|Wed, Oct 13||rec 7 GUI intro|
|Thu, Oct 14||No class (mid-semester break)|
|Wed, Oct 20||rec 8 Design patterns|
|Thu, Oct 21||Concurrency: Patterns & Promises|
|Mon, Oct 25||5a due Milestone|
|Tue, Oct 26||Events everywhere (Reactive programming)||Effective Java, Item 17|
|Wed, Oct 27||rec 9 Concurrency and Promises|
|Thu, Oct 28||Libraries and Frameworks|
|Mon, Nov 1||5b due Designing Complex Software|
|Tue, Nov 2||API Design|
|Wed, Nov 3||rec 10 Frameworks|
|Thu, Nov 4||Midterm 2|
|Tue, Nov 9||API Design (continued)|
|Wed, Nov 10||rec 11 GitFlow and Code Review|
|Thu, Nov 11||Design for Robustness & Distributed Systems|
|Mon, Nov 15||6a due Framework Design|
|Wed, Nov 17||rec 12 Framework Feedback Session|
|Thu, Nov 18||More design patterns|
|Sun, Nov 21||6b due Framework Implementation|
|Tue, Nov 23||Static vs dynamic typing, static analysis|
|Wed, Nov 24||No recitation (Thanksgiving)|
|Thu, Nov 25||No class (Thanksgiving)|
|Tue, Nov 30||Devops|
|Wed, Dec 1||rec 13 tbd|
|Thu, Dec 2||Toward SE, teams, process|
|Fri, Dec 3||6c due Framework Plugins|
|Mon, Dec 6||Final exam (5:30-8:30pm)|
* = For details, see Canvas
Course Syllabus and Policies
15-122 or 15-211, or equivalent with instructor's permission
The equivalent of 2 semester-long programming classes
- Ability to write small programs in C (or Java, C#, or other imperative languages with pointers or references)
- Ability to reason about programs using preconditions, postconditions, and invariants
- Familiarity with a basic set of algorithms and data structures (linked lists, simple graph and sorting algorithms)
15-151 or 21-127, or equivalent with instructor's permission
- Sound foundation of mathematical concepts; ability to reason formally
Evaluation will be based on the following approximate percentages:
- 50% assignments
- 10% midterm exam 1
- 10% midterm exam 2
- 20% final exam
- 10% participation and quizzes
This course does not have a fixed letter grade policy; i.e., the final letter grades will not be A=90-100%, B=80-90%, etc.
Homework grading and regrading. We try to be transparent in our rubrics in our assignments. Feel free to ask instructors or TAs clarification questions about the rubrics before the assignment is due. If you disagree with a grade, please submit a regrade request within 7 days on Gradescope. Regrade requests need a justification, explaining why our assessment is inconsistent with the rubric. Regrade requests without such justification will be closed.
Attendance and remote participation
This course, including recitations, is marked by the registrar as IPE ("delivered in-person, students are expected to be in the classroom during the course's scheduled meeting time"). There is a dedicated remote section for students who cannot attend in person and have university-level approval.
We hope that we can conduct the course in person for the entire semester, as we believe this will provide a much better experience. However, the pandemic situation is constantly evolving and we will follow university policies as they change.
We understand that different students have different backgrounds and different concerns and we will try to be flexible. We do not expect that everything will be fully back to normal for everybody (whatever normal means in the first place). If you are concerned about in-person interactions, we recommend to first talk to your advisor and then reach out to us.
We will record all lectures and make them available to remote students and (on a case by case basis) students who miss lectures due to quarantine, illness, or other reasons. Recordings may not be shared to protect the FERPA rights of all students in the classroom. For remote students, we expect that they attend the remote section live after having watched the recordings.
This course will occasionally assign mandatory readings, from the two text books below. The CMU library has both physical and electronic copies of these books.
- Larman, Craig. Applying UML and Patterns: An Introduction to Object-Oriented Analysis and Design and Iterative Development, 3rd Edition. Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-148906-2. [electronic copy in the CMU library] This book describes basics of object-oriented design, responsibility assignment, and some design patterns used in the course. We will use the third edition, which covers the course's topics in more details than earlier editions. We will assign select chapters.
- Bloch, Joshua. Effective Java, Third Edition. Addison-Wesley, ISBN 978-0-13-468599-1. [electronic copy available for CMU library users] This book covers many aspects of program design, not only those specific to Java. We will assign multiple chapters.
Object-Oriented Design and Design Patterns
- Alan Shalloway and James Trott. Design Patterns Explained: A New Perspective on Object-Oriented Design (2nd Ed.) [electronic copy in the CMU library]
- Gamma et al. Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software. Addison Wesley. ISBN 0-201-63361-2 [electronic copy in the CMU library] (this is an excellent book, but more of a reference text than the Design Patterns Explained book. In addition, because it was the original patterns book, the examples are in C++ and Smalltalk, not Java)
- Note: Here are some popular textbook and online resources for learning Java.
- Sestoft. Java Precisely. MIT Press, 2016. [electronic copy of 2nd edition in the CMU library] (this is a very concise reference with many good examples; it assumes that you already know other programming languages)
- Introduction to Programming Using Java (free online textbook)
- Blue Pelican Java (free online textbook)
This is a 12-unit course, and it is our intention to manage it so that you spend close to 12 hours a week on the course, on average. In general, 4 hours/week will be spent in class and 8 hours on assignments. Please feel free to give the course staff feedback on how much time the course is taking for you.
Late work policy
We understand that normal life events, including projects and exams in other courses and technical difficulties out of your control, can interfere with your ability to complete your work on time. Our philosophy is that our late work policy includes built-in flexibility but that the policy will be uniformly applied to all students in all circumstances. Exceptions to this policy will be made only in extraordinary circumstances, almost always involving a family or medical emergency with your academic advisor or the Dean of Student Affairs requesting the exception on your behalf.
For most homework deadlines you may turn in your work up to two days late using either free late days (see below) or 10% per day penalties. Work turned in more than two days late will receive feedback but no credit, i.e., a 100% penalty. (See an important caveat below for how penalties are applied to late work.) Some homework deadlines may explicitly disallow late work, and you are responsible for correctly understanding the late policy for each homework assignment and its sub-parts.
Each student starts the semester with five free late days which will automatically be applied to your individual (non-partner-based) assignments until you have used all five free late days. A late day is automatically applied when your work is late; you may not defer a free late day to be used on a later assignment. We will make separate late day provisions for partner-based assignments.
When we apply a late penalty to late work (e.g. a 10% one-day penalty or a 100% no credit penalty) we assess the penalty incrementally at a rate of 1% every five minutes until the full penalty is assessed.
To better understand this late policy consider the following example scenario. Suppose a homework assignment is due Tuesday night (ostensibly at 11:59 p.m.) and you have one free late day remaining. You may turn in your work:
- Tuesday night at 11:59:59 p.m. with no penalty, leaving you one free late day remaining. (We write deadlines as 11:59 p.m. for clarity, but work is actually late at midnight.)
- Wednesday morning at 12:00:00 a.m. (one second later, oops) with no penalty but leaving you no free late days. (Deadlines are strictly enforced, even if your work is late because of network problems or other technical difficulties.)
- Wednesday night at 11:59:59 p.m. with no penalty, leaving you no free late days.
- Thursday morning at 12:29:59 a.m. with a 6% penalty and leaving you no free late days. The penalty is 6% because 29 minutes 59 seconds accumulated six five-minute increments of the 10% one-day penalty.
- Thursday night at 11:59:59 p.m. with a 10% penalty, leaving you no free late days.
- Friday morning at 03:59:59 a.m. with a 58% penalty (one full 10% one-day penalty + 48 five-minute increments of the no-credit penalty) and leaving you no free late days.
- Friday morning at 09:00:00 a.m. for no credit, but leaving you with one free late day remaining. (Work turned in for no credit will not consume free late days.)
Research to Improve the Course:
For this class, we are conducting research on teaching and learning. This research will involve some student work. You will not be asked to do anything above and beyond the normal learning activities and assignments that are part of this course. You are free not to participate in this research, and your participation will have no influence on your grade for this course or your academic career at CMU. If you do not wish to participate, please send an email to Chad Hershock (firstname.lastname@example.org). Participants will not receive any compensation. The data collected as part of this research will include student grades. All analyses of data from participants’ coursework will be conducted after the course is over and final grades are submitted. The Eberly Center may provide support on this research project regarding data analysis and interpretation. The Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation is located on the CMU-Pittsburgh Campus and its mission is to support the professional development of all CMU instructors regarding teaching and learning. To minimize the risk of breach of confidentiality, the Eberly Center will never have access to data from this course containing your personal identifiers. All data will be analyzed in de-identified form and presented in the aggregate, without any personal identifiers. If you have questions pertaining to your rights as a research participant, or to report concerns to this study, please contact Chad Hershock (email@example.com).
We expect that your work on assignments, projects, and exams will be your own work. Thus, you may not copy any part of a solution to a problem that was written by another student, or was developed together with another student, or was copied from another unauthorized source such as the Internet. Unless explicitly allowed by the assignment, you may not look at another student's solution, even if you have completed your own, nor may you knowingly give your solution to another student or leave your solution where another student can see it.
Here are some examples of behavior that are inappropriate:
- Copying (or retyping) files, parts of files (such as source code, written text, or unit tests), quiz solutions, or exam solutions from another person or source, either in draft or final form, even if the file permissions are incorrectly set to allow it. This behavior is still clearly inappropriate even if you make modifications (such as style changes or minor logic modifications) from the original source.
- Searching for or viewing a current or past student's homework solution.
- Allowing someone else to view or copy your code, written assignment, quiz, or exam, either in draft or final form.
- Getting help that you do not fully understand or from someone whom you do not acknowledge on your solution.
- Coaching others step-by-step without them understanding your help.
- Writing, using, or submitting a program that attempts to alter or erase grading information or otherwise compromise security of course resources.
- Lying to course staff.
- Making your work publicly available in a way that other students (current or future) can access your solutions, even if others’ access is accidental or incidental to your goals.
In your solutions you will often reuse existing code as libraries or frameworks and build your own solution with those. You may import code through package managers (npm, maven, gradle) without further documentation. If you copy code into your repository (either entire file(s) or code snippets), you need to acknowledge the source.
If any of your work contains any statement that was not written by you, you must put it in quotes and cite the source. If you are paraphrasing an idea you read elsewhere, you must acknowledge the source. Using existing material without proper citation is plagiarism, a form of cheating. If there is any question about whether the material is permitted, you must get permission in advance.
We use automated systems to detect software plagiarism. These automated systems are highly effective and, so far, have detected software plagiarism almost every semester.
It is not considered cheating to clarify vague points in the assignments, lectures, lecture notes, or to give help or receive help in using the computer systems, compilers, debuggers, profilers, or other facilities.
Some assignments are specifically noted as group projects. For these, interpret "you" in the preceding paragraphs to mean "you and your partner(s)."
Any violation of this policy is cheating. The minimum penalty for cheating (including plagiarism) will be a zero grade for the whole assignment; a typical penalty will be -100% on the assignment. Dishonesty while discussing an academic integrity issue (i.e. lying to course staff) usually results in an 'R' in the course. All violations of this collaboration policy will be referred to the appropriate University disciplinary board, with possible additional disciplinary action. For more information, see the [University Policy on Academic Integrity](http://www.cmu.edu/policies/documents/Academic Integrity.htm).
There is no statute of limitations for violations of the collaboration policy; penalties may be assessed (and referred to the university disciplinary board) after you have completed the course, and some requirements of the collaboration policy (such as restrictions on you posting your solutions) extend beyond your completion of the course.
If you have any question about how this policy applies in a particular situation, ask the instructors or TAs for clarification.
If you wish to request an accommodation due to a documented disability, please inform the instructor as soon as possible and contact Disability Resources at 412.268.2013 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your health matters
When we say "your health matters" we mean exactly that: Your health matters. We don't intend to imply that other peoples' health does not matter, or that your health matters more or less than theirs. We know that CMU can be a stressful, risky environment, and your health is the health that is relevant in this conversation. Worries about Covid-19 and possible remote classes do not help.
Please take care of yourself. Do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle this semester by eating well, exercising, avoiding drugs and alcohol, getting enough sleep and taking some time to relax. This will help you achieve your goals and cope with stress.
All of us benefit from support during times of struggle. You are not alone. There are many helpful resources available on campus and an important part of the college experience is learning how to ask for help. Asking for support sooner rather than later is often helpful.
If you or anyone you know experiences any academic stress, difficult life events, or feelings like anxiety or depression, we strongly encourage you to seek support. Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS) is here to help: call 412-268-2922 and visit their website at http://www.cmu.edu/counseling/. Consider reaching out to a friend, faculty or family member you trust for help getting connected to the support that can help.
If you are worried about affording food or feeling insecure about food, there are resources on campus who can help. Email the CMU Food Pantry Coordinator to schedule an appointment: email@example.com
Respect for diversity. It is our intent that students from all diverse backgrounds and perspectives be well served by this course, that students’ learning needs be addressed both in and out of class, and that the diversity that students bring to this class be viewed as a resource, strength and benefit. It is my intent to present materials and activities that are respectful of diversity: gender, sexuality, disability, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, and culture. Your suggestions are encouraged and appreciated. Please let us know ways to improve the effectiveness of the course for you personally or for other students or student groups.
Accommodations for students with disabilities. If you have a disability and have an accommodations letter from the Disability Resources office, we encourage you to discuss your accommodations and needs with us as early in the semester as possible. We will work with you to ensure that accommodations are provided as appropriate. If you suspect that you may have a disability and would benefit from accommodations but are not yet registered with the Office of Disability Resources, we encourage you to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Informal feedback on this course
We are planning many changes to this course in this semester and not everything will work out smoothly the first time. We’d like you to provide ongoing feedback on your experience in the course, so that we can take into account your experience and adapt our practices to make the course work for you.
Outside of the regular course meetings and Piazza, you can submit feedback about anything in the course per email to the instructors or ask TAs to forward them anonymously. We will read every message submitted and use your feedback to try to improve the way we are teaching.