Introduction to Computer Science


  • Course: Introduction to Computer Science (CH08-320101)
  • Semester: Fall 2018
  • Instructor: Jürgen Schönwälder
  • TA: Jonas Bayer (Group D)
  • TA: Marco David (Group E)
  • TA: Dung Tri Huynh (Group B)
  • TA: Irsida Mana (Group C)
  • TA: Abhik Pal (Group A)
  • Class: Tuesday, 08:15-09:30 (Lecture Hall Research II)
  • Class: Tuesday, 09:45-11:00 (Lecture Hall Research II)
  • Class: Thursday, 11:15-12:30 (Lecture Hall Research II)
  • Midterm: Tuesday, 2018-10-30 (Campus Center, east wing and west wing)
  • Final: TBD
  • Office: Monday, 11:15-12:30 (Research I, Room 87)
  • Start: 2018-09-04


The course covers the fundamental concepts and techniques of computer science in a bottom-up manner. Based on clear mathematical foundations (which are developed as needed) the course discusses abstract and concrete notions of computing machines, information, and algorithms, focusing on the question of representation versus meaning in Computer Science.

To develop a theoretical notion of computation, we introduce basic concepts of discrete mathematics with a focus on inductively defined structures. The functional programming language Haskell will be introduced and used as the primary programming language for the course. We cover a basic subset of Haskell that includes types, recursion, tuples, lists, strings, and higher-order functions. Back on the theoretical side, we cover the syntax and semantics of Boolean expressions and we explain how Boolean algebra relates to logic gates and digital circuits. On the technical side, we introduce the representation of basic data types such as numbers, characters, strings and dates as well as the basics of computer architecture and assembly programming. On the algorithmic side, the course introduces the notion of correctness and elementary complexity theory (big-O notation) and we introduce abstract data types.




Tu 08:15 Th 11:15 Topics
2018-09-04 2018-09-06 Introduction and maze generation algorithms
2018-09-11 2018-09-13 String search algorithms, complexity and correctness
2018-09-18 2018-09-20 Mathematical notations and proof techniques
2018-09-25 2018-09-27 Sets, relations, and functions
2018-10-02 2018-10-04 Representation of integer and floating point numbers
2018-10-09 2018-10-11 Representation of characters, strings, date and time
2018-10-16 2018-10-18 Boolean operations and expressions
2018-10-25 Boolean algebra and normal forms
2018-10-30 2018-11-01 Boolean expression minimization and Boolean logic
2018-11-06 2018-11-08 Logic gates, basic digital circuits, von Neuman computer architecture
2018-11-13 2018-11-15 Assembly programming, interpreter, compiler
2018-11-20 2018-11-22 Operating systems, processes, file systems, communication
2018-11-27 2018-11-29 Finite state machines, pushdown automata and turing machines, formal languages
2018-12-04 2018-12-06 Computability theory and complexity theory


Tu 09:45 Topics
2018-09-04 Getting started with Haskell (ghc, expressions, functions, lists)
2018-09-11 Next steps with Haskell (types, tuples, pattern matching)
2018-09-18 Further steps in Haskell (guards, where, let, case, lambda)
2018-10-02 Lecture (substitute for 2018-10-09)
2018-10-16 Grand tutorial (midterm preparation)
2018-10-30 Midterm exam (Campus Center, east wing and west wing)
2018-11-06 Higher order functions in Haskell (map, filter, foldr, foldl)
2018-11-13 Tail recursion and lazy evaluation in Haskell
2018-11-20 Datatypes and type classes in Haskell
2018-11-27 Monads and I/O in Haskell
2018-12-04 Grand tutorial (final preparation)


Date/Due Name Topics
2018-09-20 Sheet #1 boyer moore bad character rule, haskell leap year function
2018-09-27 Sheet #2 proof by contrapositive and induction, haskell rotate and circle
2018-10-04 Sheet #3 distributive laws for sets, relation properties, haskell circular prime numbers
2018-10-11 Sheet #4 order relations and function composition, haskell prefixes and suffixes
2018-10-18 Sheet #5 number systems, b-complement, floating point numbers, haskell bin and binf
2018-10-25 Sheet #6 completeness of boolean operations, boolean algebra, dnf and cnf, haskell truthtable
2018-11-08 Sheet #7
2018-11-15 Sheet #8
2018-11-22 Sheet #9
2018-11-29 Sheet #10


The final grade is made up of the final exam (50%), the midterm exam (30%) and homework assignments (20%).

Electronic submission is the preferred way to hand in homework solutions. Please submit documents (plain ASCII text or PDF, no Word) and your source code (tar, zip) via the online submission system. If you have problems, please contact one of the TAs.

Late submissions will not be accepted. Homeworks may need to be defended in an oral interview.

For any questions stated on assignment sheets, quiz sheets, exam sheets or during makeups, we by default expect a reasoning for the answer given, unless explicitely stated otherwise.

Students must submit solutions individually. If you copy material verbatim from the Internet (or other sources), you have to provide a proper reference. If we find your solution text on the Internet without a proper reference, you risk to lose your points. Any cheating cases will be reported to the registrar. In addition, you will lose the points (of course).

Any programs, which have to be written, will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • correctness including proper handling of error conditions
  • proper use of programming language constructs
  • clarity of the program organization and design
  • readability of the source code and any output produced

Source code must be accompanied by a README file providing an overview of the source files and giving instructions how to build the programs. A suitable Makefile is required if the build process involves more than a single source file.

If you are unhappy with the grading, please report immediately (within one week) to the TAs. If you can't resolve things, contact the instructor. Problem reports which come late, that is after the one week period, are not considered anymore.

The policy on makeup quizzes is the following: There won't be any quiz makeups. If you (a) get an official excuse for a quiz from the registrar's office or (b) approach we well in advance of the quiz with a very good reason for not being able to participate (e.g., because you take a GRE computer science subject test at the day of a quiz), then the weight of the final exam will be increased according to the weight of the quiz you got excused for.