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    COP 4530 Data Structures, Algorithms, and Generic Programming
    Spring Semester 2014


This class has students attending in two distinct modes:

  1. Traditional On-Campus (Panama City Campus only)
  2. Distance Learning On-Line

The content, objectives, assignments, assessments, and grading are the same for all students. Obviously, however, on-campus, mixed-mode, and distance students sometimes participate in different ways.

For all students: Regular participation via the campus.fsu.edu [Blackboard] course interface is required. Official course announcements, lecture materials, assignments, and help archives will all be on-line at this site. Note that all registered students should have the course web site listed on their campus.fsu.edu portal page. Be sure to test this and resolve any difficulties no later than the first week of classes.

For on-campus/local students: Class (lecture and recitation) will be met and attendance is required. (See meeting schedule details below.) All exams must be taken in class or by appointment at the PC Campus student testing center during the online exam window. (See Exam Schedule below.)

For on-line/distance students: All exams must be proctored and taken during the exam window. It is the student's responsibility to arrange for proctored exams in compliance with the FSU standards. (See COURSE POLICIES for details.) All exams must be taken by appointment at your pre-approved proctored testing site during the online exam window. (See Exam Schedule below.)

Note that students may be required to identify themselves with official FSU ID to sit an exam.


LectureHolley B-207 Jan 7 - Apr 22 (excluding Mar 11)   Tue   2:00pm - 4:30pm (Central Time)


Instructor: Chris Lacher
Responsibilities: Online Interaction, Exam & Assignment Creation & Assessment; Materials Preparation; Overall Course Supervision 
Office:  A2110 Academic Center / Panama City Campus 
Office Phone (during PC office hours):  850-770-2256 (local direct line)
Mobile Phone & Voice Mail (24/7): 850-510-5575 
Email:  lacher[at]cs[dot]fsu[dot]edu
Mail & Delivery: Florida State University
4750 Collegiate Drive
Panama City, FL 32405-1099
Lacher Weekly Schedule Effective Jan 6 - Apr 27, 2014 (excluding Jan 20 and Mar 10-14)
Tony Harris, Online Mentor and Assignment Assessment Coordinator
Responsibilities: Online Interaction, Assignment Help & Assessment 
Email:  wharris[at]cs[dot]fsu[dot]edu
Brent Gann, Online Mentor and Assignment Assessment
Responsibilities: Online Interaction, Assignment Help & Assessment 
Email:  gann[at]cs[dot]fsu[dot]edu
Christian Smith, Online Mentor and Assignment Assessment
Responsibilities: Online Interaction, Assignment Help & Assessment 
Email:  chrsmith[at]cs[dot]fsu[dot]edu


The courses COP 3330 and MAD 2104 are required prerequisites for COP 4530. In addition, CDA 3100 is required as either a pre- or co-requisite. These pre- and co- requisites will be enforced. Students not meeting the pre/co-requisite requirements will be dropped from the class.


Data structures and algorithms form the foundation of both the theory and practice of all computing disciplines. Mastery of this course marks the transition from computer programming to computer science.


This IS NOT a course in object-oriented programming.

This IS a course about efficiency of programs and programming, in various meanings of efficient. It is efficient to re-use code instead of re-writing code (or, worse, re-inventing code). It is efficient to select only the linguistic features you need without having to use costly extra features you do not need. It is efficient to minimize the run time of code, especially code that is destined for re-use. It is also efficient to minimize the memory and storage needs of code, recognizing that there may be a tradeoff between speed and memory requirements. It is efficient to spend less time writing a program of equal quality, and even more efficient to spend the same time writing a program of higher quality. In many applications, correctness is the ultimate form of efficiency, while in others efficiency means getting the best result possible in the limited time (or space) available.

Efficiency can happen at different levels. Take code: source code can be small in size, easy to read, and easy to understand. Executable code can be fast or compact (or both). The code production process can be efficient by applying good software engineering methodology. Code can run efficiently, in either a temporal or spatial sense. Savings in human effort also represent efficiency. Effort can be saved by good design, by careful (error-free) programming, and by re-using both code itself and patterns of problem solving that are known to be successful.

All these ideas of efficiency are central to this course. It is also true that all of these ideas of efficiency are fundamental to the design and specification of the C++ language, which is one of many reasons C++ is a great choice for the core language in our curriculum and for this course.

The three topics mentioned in the title of the course are data structures, algorithms, and generic programming. Data structures will be discussed in abstract terms (as abstract data types, or ADTs) but they will also be looked at in very concrete ways, actually implemented using C++. Algorithms are just formalizations of processes that result in predictable and desirable outcomes. Algorithms are used in a variety of contexts. Particularly, data structures are made usable by implementing algorithms for searching, sorting, and indexing the structures. Generic programming is the science of component re-use. We will explore coding for re-use of both data structures and algorithms in C++. Coding for re-use and re-use of code are important aspects of software engineering.

We will also have several substantial programming projects that involve the implementation and use of data structures, algorithms, and generic programming.


At the end of this course, the student should have mastered the following objectives.

Data Structures

  • Define the following concepts:
    Positional ADTs: vector, list, deque, stack, queue
    Associative ADTs: set, table, associative array, priority queue
  • Define the iterators associated with these ADTs
  • Choose and use among these ADTs to solve various programming problems
  • Implement a representative selection of these abstractions, including their associated iterator classes and including performance constraints (in terms of runtime complexity) on the operations.
  • Implementations should include the following:
    1. vector
    2. list
    3. deque
    4. stack
    5. queue
    6. priority queue
    7. ordered set
    Note that this implies the detailed understanding of trees of several types as implementation structures and the use of template classes as well as the elementary study of algorithms and their complexity.


  • Be able to prove correctness of various algorithms.
  • Be able to give an informal complexity analysis of various algorithms.
  • The various algorithms should include:
    1. Implementations of all operations of the ADTs mentioned above
    2. Sequential Search
    3. Binary Search
    4. Push and Pop Heap
    5. Heap Sort

Generic Programming

  • Define and use generic containers as class templates with typename template parameters
  • Show how each ADT above can be realized as generic container
  • Define and use generic algorithms as function templates with iterator template parameters
  • Show how various algorithms can be realized as generic algorithms
  • Define and use predicate classes and objects
  • Define and use function classes and objects


The following materials are required:

  • Lecture Notes (Slides and Narrative) available through Blackboard and also through the Course Calendar under "Lectures"
  • Code Distribution Library: progressively released at [LIB] = /home/courses/cop4530p/spring14/ (see Chapter 1 of Lecture Notes for details)
  • Assignment Documents: progressively released through the Course Calendar.
  • Course Text: Weiss, Data Structures & Algorithm Analysis in C++ (3rd ed), Addison Wesley (2006) ISBN: 9780321441461
  • Alternate (or supplemntal): Sedgwick, Algorithms in C++ (parts 1-5)
  • (2nd edition).

The following optional reference books are sanctioned for this course.

  • Stroustrup, Bjarne (1997). The C++ Programming Language (3rd Edition). Addison-Wesley.
    ISBN 0-201-88954-4.
    Highly recommended C++ reference, written by the language inventor.
  • Deitel, H.M. and Deitel, P.J. (2003 - 2014). C++: How to Program (various editions). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
    This is the official text for COP 3330. Use it if you have it. Beware of errors.
  • Ford, W. and Topp, W. (2002). Data Structures with C++ Using the STL (2nd edition). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
    ISBN 0-13-085850-1.
  • Austern, M. (1998). Generic Programming and the STL. Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1998.
    ISBN 0-201-30956-4.
    A terrific introduction to the STL and generic programming, written by one of the original developers.
  • Langer, Angelika, and Kreft, Klaus (2000). Standard C++ IOStreams and Locales - Advanced Programmers Guide and Reference. Addison Wesley.
    ISBN 0-201-18395-1.
    A comprenhensive and comprehensible reference.
  • Cormen, T.H., Leiserson, C.E, and Rivest, R.L. (2009). Introduction to Algorithms (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
    ISBN 978-0-262-03384-8.
    The text for COP 4531 - no harm in getting it early.
  • Oram, A. and Talbott, S. (1991). Managing Projects with make. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates.
    ISBN 0-937175-90-0.
    Make is a necessary tool for modern project management. There are also good on-line references.
  • Cameron, D., Rosenblatt, B., and Raymond, E. (1996). Learning GNU Emacs, 2nd Edition. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates.
    ISBN 1-56592-152-6.
    Emacs is a text-based IDE for programming for a non-MSWindows environment. It will be necessary for this course as well as other future courses where you may be asked to write in Lisp, Prolog, C, or SPARC Assembly.

The following are useful on-line references:


The overall grade for COP 4530 is an average of two equally weighted parts: Exams and Assignments. Exams consist of a midterm exam (counting 20% of the course grade) and a final exam (counting 30%). Assignments count the other 50% cummulatively. The dates for the two exams are shown in Table 1 below. Due dates for assignment deliverables will be available on the Course Calendar.

Course Grade. There are 1000 total points that may be earned in the course (not counting possible extra credit opportunities), distributed as shown in Table 2. At least 350 exam points (midterm and final exams) and 350 assignment points (programming projects and homework) must be earned to get a course grade of C or better. In addition, working solutions for every assignment must be submitted in order to be eligible for the grade of A or A-. Once meeting these constraints, the final grade is determined using Table 3.

Table 1: Exam Schedule
Exam On-Line Window (Dates Inclusive)
Midterm Exam Mon Feb 17 - Sat Feb 22
Final Exam Mon Apr 28 - Sat May 3
 Table 2: Course Points 
 Item   Points/Item   No of Items   Points [Percent]  
 Homework   50   6   300 [30]
 Projects   100   2   200 [20]
 Midterm   200   1   200 [20]
 Final   300   1   300 [30]
Total Points [Percent]:    1000 [100]
 Table 3: Letter Grades 
 Percent   Grade 
 93 - 100   A 
 90 - 92   A- 
 88 - 89   B+ 
 83 - 87   B 
 80 - 82   B- 
 78 - 79   C+ 
 73 - 77   C 
 70 - 72   C- 
 68 - 69   D+ 
 63 - 67   D 
 60 - 62   D- 
 0 - 59   F 
  1. The exam windows run Mon - Sat only. These windows cannot be widened or otherwise changed. It is very important to check with your testing center to verify that the exam can be taken in the window. Changing testing centers may be necessary, but requires planning in advance.
  2. FSU Testing requires that you register your test site within the first two weeks of classes. Be sure to take care of that promptly.
  3. Deadlines for deliverables are firm. Please note the deadlines listed in the calendar.

NOTE: The following are additional constraints on the final grade in this course.

  1. The assignments in this course have been designated by the Department of Computer Science for assessment of the following expected outcomes for its degree programs, as required by our accreditation agencies, the University and the State of Florida:
    1. Data Structure Knowledge
    2. Recursive Algorithm Use
    Departmental policy does not permit a final grade of "C-" or better to be assigned unless the student has at earned a grade of "C-" or better on each of these components, regardless of performance on other work in the course.
  2. In addition, you must earn at least 350 points in both Exams (in-term and final exams) and Assignments (projects and homework) to be awarded a course grade of C or better.
  3. Finally, you must submit a working version of every assignment in order to be eligible for the grade of A or A-.

See Assessment of Programming Assignments for policies on assessment and late submissions.

ABET/SACS Program Outcomes Assessment

Department and University policy asserts that COP 4530 is to be used to assess some of the required ABET and SACS outcomes for the degree program. The outcomes assessed are:

(a) An ability to apply knowledge of computing and mathematics appropriate to the discipline [recursion, data structures]

(c) An ability to design, implement, and evaluate a computer-based system, process, component, or program to meet desired needs

(i) An ability to use current techniques, skills, and tools necessary for computing practice

These will be assessed using the following rubric based on the overall percent grade on course assignments.

Rubric I E H  
   I = ineffective
   E = effective
   H = highly effective
  Grade on assignments 90% or higher - - x
  Grade on assignments 70% or higher but less than 90%  - x -
  Grade on assignments below 70% x - -

In order to earn a course grade of C- or better, the assessment must result in Effective or Highly Effective.


First Day Attendance Policy: Official university policy is that any student not attending the first class meeting will be automatically dropped from the class. For distance students, this policy is interpreted as posting to the discussion forum "First Day Attendance" no later than the first day of the semester.

Regular Attendance Policy: The university requires attendance in all classes. Attendance in distance classes shall mean regular access to the course web site via campus.fsu.edu and regular participation in the class discussion forums. Here, "regular" shall mean a substantial amount of time on a weekly basis. Note that individual access statistics are maintained by Blackboard.

Proctored Exam Policy: All exams must be proctored and taken at an approved testing site during the exam window. It is the student's responsibility to arrange for proctored exams in compliance with the FSU standards. Go to the FSU ODL Student Testing Responsibilities for complete information on setting up a proctored exam site. Please note also that students taking exams on main campus in Tallahassee are now required to sign up for a time slot at the site.

Exam Makeup Policy: An exam missed without an acceptable excuse will be recorded as a grade of zero (0). The following are the only acceptable excuses:

  • If submitted prior to the day of the scheduled exam:
    • A written and signed explanation as to why the exam will missed. Illness or required professional travel are acceptable, while discretionary or personal travel are not. In any case the explanation should be accompanied by corroborating documentation, including names and contact information, and the explanation must be accepted by the instructor prior to missing the exam.
    • Evidence from a university official that you will miss the exam due to university sanctioned travel or extracurricular activity.
  • If submitted on or after the day of the scheduled exam:
    • A note from a physician, university dean, spouse, parent, or yourself indicating an illness or other extraordinary circumstance that prevented you from taking the exam and could not be planned for in advance. Again, corroborating information should be supplied.

All excuses must be submitted in writing, must be signed by the excusing authority, and must include complete contact information for the authority, including telephone numbers and address.

Missed exams with acceptable excuse will be made up or assigned the average grade of all other exams, at the option of the course instructor.

Missed, and acceptably excused, final exams will result in the course grade of 'I' and must be made up in the first two weeks of the following semester.

Grade of 'I' Policy: The grade of 'I' will be assigned only under the following exceptional circumstances:

  • The final exam is missed with an accepted excuse for the absence. In this case, the final exam must be made up during the first two weeks of the following semester.
  • Due to an extended illness or other extraordinary circumstance, with appropriate documentation, the student is unable to participate in class for an extended period. In this case, arrangements must be made to make up the missed portion of the course prior to the end of the next semester.

Completion of Work Policy: To be eligible for the grade of A or A-, working versions of all programming assignments must be submitted.


The Florida State University Academic Honor Policy outlines the University’s expectations for the integrity of students’ academic work, the procedures for resolving alleged violations of those expectations, and the rights and responsibilities of students and faculty members throughout the process.  Students are responsible for reading the Academic Honor Policy and for living up to their pledge to “. . . be honest and truthful and . . . [to] strive for personal and institutional integrity at Florida State University.”  (Florida State University Academic Honor Policy, found at http://dof.fsu.edu/honorpolicy.htm.)

All students are expected to uphold the Academic Honor Policy. Please note the following items are defined and made violations by the policy:

  1. Plagiarism
  2. Cheating
  3. Unauthorized Group Work
  4. Fabrication, Falsification, and Misrepresentation
  5. Multiple Submission
  6. Abuse of Academic Materials
  7. Complicity in Academic Dishonesty
  8. Attempted ...

Violations of the academic honor policy may result in failing grades and/or dismissal from the university. All students are expected to read and understand the policy.

Checking for Plagiarism: FSU subscribes several databases of papers and computer source code that have been previously published or turned in for credit in university courses worldwide. Student work may be checked in one or more of these databases for originality. Note that turning in work that contains uncited quoted material from any source is considered plagiarism and a violation of the FSU honor code.


Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should:
(1) register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center; and
(2) bring a letter to the instructor indicating the need for accommodation and what type.  This should be done during the first week of class.

This syllabus and other class materials are available in alternative format upon request.

For more information about services available to FSU students with disabilities, contact the:

Student Disability Resource Center
874 Traditions Way
108 Student Services Building
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4167
(850) 644-9566 (voice)
(850) 644-8504 (TDD)

(This syllabus and other class materials are available in alternative format upon request.)


Information regarding the status of FSU in an emergency situation may be obtained from the following sources:

  • For information specific to the Panama City Campus go to the FSUPC web page at http://www.pc.fsu.edu/ or call the Campus Hotline number 850-770-2000
  • For information related to FSU in general and the Tallahassee Campus go to the FSU alerts web page at http://www.fsu.edu/~alerts/
  • For state-wide and national information, go to the Florida Division of Emergency Management information pages at http://www.floridadisaster.org/

Any specific information related to this class will be posted on the course web site or sent via email to your fsu email address.


Except for changes that substantially affect implementation of the evaluation (grading) statement, this syllabus is a guide for the course and is subject to change with advance notice. Such notice will be in the form of a posting to the course web site on campus.fsu.edu.