FSU Seal - 1851


    COP 5517 Generic Programming
    Spring Semester 2012


This class has students attending in two modes:

  1. On-campus (On-Line plus weekly classes)
  2. Distance Learning (100% On-Line)

The content, objectives, assignments, assessments, and grading are the same for all students.

For all students: Regular participation via the 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 students: Class will be met and attendance is expected. (See schedule details below.) All exams must be taken by appointment with the Student Assesment Center on the Panama City campus.

For on-line 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.)

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


Recitation  Holland Teaching Lab - HOL A210A   Jan 10 - Apr 17 (excluding Mar 6)   Tue   2:00pm - 4:30pm (Central Time)


Instructor: Chris Lacher
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 4 - Apr 22, 2011 (excluding Jan 17 and Mar 7-13)


  • David Vandevoorde and Nicolai Josuttis, C++ Templates: The Complete Guide, Addison-Wesley, 2003 (ISBN 0-201-73484-2) (required).
  • Andrei Alexandrescu, Modern C++ Design: Generic Programming and Design Patterns Applied, Addison-Wesley, 2001 (ISBN 0-201-70431-5) (recommended).
  • Matthew H. Austern, Generic Programming and the STL, Addison-Wesley, 1999 (ISBN 0-201-30956-4) (recommended).
  • Stanley Lippman, Josee Lajoie, and Barbara Moo, C++ Primer (Fourth Edition), Addison-Wesley, 2005 (ISBN 0-201-72148-1) (recommended).


The courses COP 4530 (prerequisite) and COP 4531 (pre-/co-requisite); or appropriate maturity in both programming and course work, by permission of the instructor.


Generic programming is the science and engineering of creating re-usable program components. The field has been advanced significantly in the last 5 years and is now at the high level of usefullness in a wide range of applications. Understanding how to create and use generic program components is essential to modern program design.


The course will address the following topics:

  1. Generic Programming Principles and Techniques
    1. Generic Containers
    2. Function and Predicate Objects
    3. Generic Algorithms
    4. Mediation between containers and algorithms with iterators
  2. Containers and Algorithms in the C++ STL
    1. Vectors, Lists, Deques
    2. Stacks, Queues, Priority Queues
    3. Ordered Sets and Maps
    4. Hashed Sets and Maps
    5. Iterators and Iterator Adaptors
    6. General algorithms
    7. Set algorithms
    8. Heap algorithms
    9. Search algorithms
    10. Sort algorithms
  3. Extending the STL to new containers and new algorithms
    1. Graphs and Digraphs
    2. Graph Algorithms
  4. Policy Based Design
    1. Partial template specialization
    2. Traits
    3. Typelists
  5. Design Pattern Implementations
    1. Small objects
    2. Singletons
    3. Smart Pointers
    4. Abstract Factory
    5. Visitor


At the end of this course, the student should be able to:

  1. Be able to use all aspects of the std and fsu template libraries
  2. Define and use the concepts of generic container and algorithm
  3. Define, implement, and use generic algorithms
  4. Define, implement, and use function objects, including stateful function objects
  5. Use policy based design to enforce and regulate software designs
  6. Define, implement, and use type traits
  7. Define, implement, and use typelists
  8. Write compile-time type selection and bindings
  9. Define and use smart pointers of various configuratons and policies
  10. Define and use the generic design patterns singleton, smart pointer, and abstract factory


Class Participation: (10%) Students are expected to prepare for class by keeping up with assigned reading, exercises, and review questions. These will be discussed in the course forums.

Assignments: (40%) Assignments will parallel the course coverage.

Exams: (50%) There will be a midterm exam and a final exam, together counting 50% of the course grade..

Course Calendar. Coverage, assignments, lecture notes, and exam coverage will be released through the Course Calendar.

COURSE GRADING: Course grade components are detailed in Table 2. The assignment of letter grades is given in Table 3.

Table 1: Exam Schedule
Exam On-Line Window (Dates Inclusive)
Midterm Exam Mon Feb 27 - Fri Mar 2
Final Exam Mon Apr 23 - Fri Apr 27
Table 2: Course Components
Item Percent
Participation   10
Assignments  40
Midterm Exam    20
Final Exam    30
 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 - Fri 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. Deadlines for deliverables are firm. Please note the deadlines listed in the calendar.
  3. FSU Testing requires that you register your test site within the first two weeks of classes. Be sure to take care of that promptly.


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 Center for Testing and Assessment for complete information on setting up a proctored exam 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.