Computer Science 601.226
Data Structures
Fall 2020 (4 credits, EQ)


Ali Madooei,
Office hours to be posted on the course discussion board.

Teaching Assistant

Staff and their office hours will be posted on the course discussion board.



No required textbook.

For students who feel they need resources about Data Structures and Algorithms beyond what is available on the Internet, the following books are suggested:

For students who feel they need resources about the Java programming language beyond what is available on the Internet, the following books are suggested:

Online Resources

The course homepage will serve as the location for all documents (general resources, assignments, lecture notes, …).

We will email you, though SIS, before the start of the semester, to provide you with links to the course homepage and the course discussion forum.

Course Information

This course covers the design and implementation of fundamental data structures which allow one to store collections of data with fast updates and queries. Course work involves both written exams and Java programming assignments.


C+ or better in EN.600.120 OR EN.601.220 OR EN.600.107 OR EN.601.107 OR EN.500.112 OR (EN.500.113 AND EN.500.132) OR (EN.500.114 AND EN.500.132) or by permission of instructor.

Course Goals

Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Understand the operation of common data structures and algorithms.
  2. Use analysis techniques to choose the data structure/implementation appropriate for a given problem.
  3. Write advanced object-oriented solutions in Java to significant problems, by implementing appropriate data structures and algorithms
  4. Evaluate and compare the time complexity of functions using mathematical techniques.
  5. Design an algorithm that produces the correct results according to specified inputs and time or space complexity constraints.

This course will address the following Computer Science BS Program Student Outcomes:

Course Topics

This course covers the design and implementation of data structures including arrays, stacks, queues, linked lists, binary trees, heaps, balanced trees and graphs. Other topics include seacrching, sorting, hashing, unit testing, object-oriented programming.

Course Expectations & Grading

Course grades will be based on assignments (programming homework), two midterms, and a final exam according to the proportions below. Each homework assignment will be assigned a point value; the overall homework assignment grade will be computed as your total points earned divided by the total achievable points.

From WSE Deans correspondance:

The fall 2020 academic term and our switch to remote instruction has presented new and significant challenges for our students and faculty, including in the area of student assessment.

In particular, the interrelated and significant issues of equity and integrity, which are routine considerations under normal circumstances, have taken on heightened significance in the context of remote learning.

Our commitment to equity means that, to the best of our ability, we ensure our assessment practices do not unfairly disadvantage certain students relative to others.

Our commitment to integrity means that, to the best of our ability, we ensure students maintain ethical practices during assessment and that individuals whose practices are unethical are held accountable for violating community standards.

In the fall 2020 academic term, assessment will necessarily occur remotely.

You will be provided with the necessary information about remote assessments at least one week before each assessment event, on the course homepage and through announcements on the course discussion forum. This is a dynamic situation and we may employ different approaches/tools/modalities for each assessment, as the need arises.

Letter grades for the course will be subject to the instructor’s evaluation of your overall class performance, generally based on this standard scale:

Cutoff Letter Grade S/U Grading
>90 A, A, A+ Satisfactory
>80 B, B, B+ Satisfactory
>70 C, C, C+ Satisfactory
>60 D, D+ Unsatisfactory
60 F Unatisfactory

The cutoff for assigning /+ to each grade letter is further subject to the instructor’s evaluation of your overall class performance. Do not expect a curve in this course.

You must get a passing grade (at least 70%) on exams (midterms and final combined), and on assignments (combined), to pass the course. If you fail to meet this bar for either component, you will fail the course.

From WSE Deans correspondance:

The Homewood Academic Council has voted to make S/U grading the default grading for undergraduate courses at Homewood during Fall 2020, but to allow students to opt for letter grades for any number of courses they choose (providing that the course is not set at entirely S/U grading). Students will have until 5:00 pm January 10, 2021 to select the grading for their courses. Faculty will be presented with a roster that includes letter grades, they will enter grades as they normally would, and any conversion to S/U grades will be handled within the registrar’s office.


Please refer to the course homepage.


All students are generally expected to attend all meetings of this course, and actively participate in all course meetings. If you miss a class meeting for any reason, you are responsible for material presented, and it is your responsibility to obtain any missed handouts or other materials.

For students who reside in distant time zones, you are not expected to attend the lectures synchronously. All lectures will be recorded. The recording will be made available to all students for asynchronous viewing/reviewing.

Late Days

All you need to do in order to use a late day is submit a grade item after the deadline has expired through the regular submission. There is no need to “request” a late day in advance, it’s solely based on when you submit. Of course, you must still have a late day available, otherwise the late submission will result in a score of 0.

Note that since late days are used up automatically based on your submission, it’s very important that you weigh your options carefully. You cannot “get back” a late day after the fact because you (or one of your teammates) made a mistake.

Late days are a valuable commodity and you should use them sparingly. They are primarily intended to help you deal with unexpected circumstances, so you should not make them part of your normal planning process.

There is no grace period for assignment deadlines, only late days.

Key Dates

For the Fall 2020 semester:

Dates Events
8/31 Classes will begin
9/7 Labor Day, classes will not meet
10/22 & 23 Fall Break days, classes will not meet
11/23-27 Thanksgiving break week, classes will not meet
12/9 Last day of classes
12/10-11 Reading period
12/14-12/22 Final Exams period

The schedule of topics, assignments and exams will be posted on the course homepage.


The strength of the university depends on academic and personal integrity. In this course, you must be honest and truthful, abiding by the Computer Science Academic Integrity Policy:

Cheating is wrong. Cheating hurts our community by undermining academic integrity, creating mistrust, and fostering unfair competition. The university will punish cheaters with failure on an assignment, failure in a course, permanent transcript notation, suspension, and/or expulsion. Offenses may be reported to medical, law or other professional or graduate schools when a cheater applies.

Violations can include cheating on exams, plagiarism, reuse of assignments without permission, improper use of the Internet and electronic devices, unauthorized collaboration, alteration of graded assignments, forgery and falsification, lying, facilitating academic dishonesty, and unfair competition. Ignorance of these rules is not an excuse.

Academic honesty is required in all work you submit to be graded. Except where the instructor specifies group work, you must solve all homework and programming assignments without the help of others. For example, you must not look at anyone else’s solutions (including program code) to your homework problems. However, you may discuss assignment specifications (not solutions) with others to be sure you understand what is required by the assignment.

If your instructor permits using fragments of source code from outside sources, such as your textbook or on-line resources, you must properly cite the source. Not citing it constitutes plagiarism. Similarly, your group projects must list everyone who participated.

Falsifying program output or results is prohibited.

Your instructor is free to override parts of this policy for particular assignments. To protect yourself: (1) Ask the instructor if you are not sure what is permissible. (2) Seek help from the instructor, TA or CAs, as you are always encouraged to do, rather than from other students. (3) Cite any questionable sources of help you may have received.

On every exam, you will sign the following pledge: “I agree to complete this exam without unauthorized assistance from any person, materials or device. [Signed and dated]”. Your course instructors will let you know where to find copies of old exams, if they are available.

Report any violations you witness to the instructor.

You can find more information about university misconduct policies on the web at these sites:

Personal Wellbeing

Classroom Climate

I am committed to creating a classroom environment that values the diversity of experiences and perspectives that all students bring. Everyone here has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. I believe fostering an inclusive climate is important because research and my experience show that students who interact with peers who are different from themselves learn new things and experience tangible educational outcomes. Please join me in creating a welcoming and vibrant classroom climate. Note that you should expect to be challenged intellectually by me, the TAs, and your peers, and at times this may feel uncomfortable. Indeed, it can be helpful to be pushed sometimes in order to learn and grow. But at no time in this learning process should someone be singled out or treated unequally on the basis of any seen or unseen part of their identity.

If you ever have concerns in this course about harassment, discrimination, or any unequal treatment, or if you seek accommodations or resources, I invite you to share directly with me or the TAs. I promise that we will take your communication seriously and to seek mutually acceptable resolutions and accommodations. Reporting will never impact your course grade. You may also share concerns with the Department Head (Randal Burns,, the Director of Undergraduate Studies (Joanne Selinski,, the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion (Darlene Saporu,, or the Office of Institutional Equity ( In handling reports, people will protect your privacy as much as possible, but faculty and staff are required to officially report information for some cases (e.g. sexual harassment).

Family Accommodations Policy

You are welcome to bring a family member to class on occasional days when your responsibilities require it (for example, if emergency child care is unavailable, or for health needs of a relative). Please be sensitive to the classroom environment, and if your family member becomes uncomfortably disruptive, you may leave the classroom and return as needed.

Religious Holidays

From WSE Deans correspondance:

Religious holidays are valid reasons to be excused from class. Students who must miss a class or an examination because of a religious holiday must inform the instructor as early in the semester as possible in order to be excused from class or to make up any work that is missed.

For homework assignments, you must plan on using your late days towards religious holidays. If a holiday is longer than 2 days permitted late day per homework, we can make an exception for you to use more days subject to having late days left in your budget. You must inform the instructor as early in the semester as possible about your intention on using (more than two) late days for a specific homework during a religious holiday.

I extend the same curtousy to cultral/national holidays, or any other sort of engagement that you personally might have such as Athletics, Academics, etc. For instance, if you will be away on a conference, you can get permission to use more than two late days subject to the conditions stated above.

University Policy on Incompletes

From WSE Deans correspondance:

The university recognizes that the Fall 2020 semester is surrounded with uncertainty and many students may find themselves in unexpected situations where study is difficult if not impossible. Students who are confronted with extraordinary circumstances that interfere with their ability perform their academic work may request an incomplete grade from the instructor. While approval of such a request is not automatic, it is expected that faculty will make every effort to accommodate students dealing with illness in the family and other pandemic-related hardships. The instructor and student must establish a timetable for submitting the unfinished work with a final deadline no later than the end of the third week of the Spring 2021 semester (February 12, 2021). Exceptions to this deadline require a petition from the instructor to the student’s academic advising office by February 12, 2021. When entering an Incomplete grade in SIS, faculty must include a reversion grade which represents the grade the student will receive if s/he does not complete the missing work by the agreed-upon deadline.

Deadlines for Adding, Dropping and Withdrawing from Courses

Between October 12 and November 13, 2020, a student may withdraw from a course with a W on their academic record.

A record of the course will remain on the academic record with a W appearing in the grade column to indicate that the student registered and then withdrew from the course.

For more information on these and other academic policies, see