Computers and Computing (COMP-102)

Syllabus - Fall 2011


General Information

Location:ENGTR 1090
Times:Tuesday and Thursday, 11:35-12:55am.
Prof. Joelle Pineau, School of Computer Science
Office: McConnell 106N
Office hours: Tuesdays 1:00-2:00pm
Teaching assistants:
Robert Vincent
Office: McConnell 111
Office hours: Wednesdays 2:00-3:00pm
Athena Kardehi Moghaddam
Office: McConnell 111
Office hours: Thursdays 10:00-11:00am
Class web page:


Course Description

A course for students with no previous knowledge of computer science. The course is intended to provide a survey of selected topics in computer science starting from how computers store data (text, numbers, image, sound, and video), to the inner workings of computers (hardware) and moving on to more advanced topics such as computability, complexity, web design, AI, robotics, cryptography, and social implications of computing. (3 credits; 3 hours per week)

Prerequisite: The course is appropriate for both novice and experienced computer users. It is intended for any student with high-school-level math and science background who has a keen interest in learning how the science of computation is impacting the world in which we live.

Restrictions: Credit will not be given for COMP-102 if it is taken concurrently with, or after, any of COMP-202, COMP-203, COMP-208, or COMP-250. Management students cannot receive credit for COMP-102.

Course Outline


Reference Materials

  1. Required textbook: None.
  2. Suggested reading: The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick (Available in most local and online bookstores.)
  3. Lecture notes: Available from the course web page as we go.


Class Requirements

The class grade will be based on the following components:

The assignments will include some practical problems, some applications, and some writing. No formal programming is required.

Homework Policy

Assignments and projects must be submitted IN CLASS on the day when they are due. Assignments submitted BEFORE the due date (in class or directly to my office) will also be accepted. Late assignments will NOT be accepted (no exception). Only the marks from the 8 best assignments will be counted towards the final grade. No make-up exams will be given.

All assignments and exams are INDIVIDUAL.

McGill University values academic integrity. Therefore all students must understand the meaning and consequences of cheating, plagiarism and other academic offences under the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures (see ) for more information).

In accord with McGill University's Charter of Students' Rights, students in this course have the right to submit in English or in French any written work that is to be graded.