CSCI-440: Capstone in Computer Science

Spring 2017


Instructor: Brad Richards
Lectures: TH 409 — MWF 1:00-1:50
Phone: 879-3579
Office: Thompson 401
Office Hours: MWF 11-11:50, Th 1-2:00
Tutor Schedule: See online schedule



Week Meetings Readings
1/16 Course overview,
Proposal Guidelines
List of Projects
1/23 M: Introductions
WF: Group work
1/30 MW: Group work
F: Discussion of Readings
Pre-Electronic Origins
2/6 MW: Group work
F: Discussion of Readings
Electronic Pioneers
2/13 MWF: Checkins Guidelines
2/20 MW: Group work
F: Discussion of Readings
Programming Languages
2/27 MW: Group work
F: Discussion of Readings
Software Crisis
3/6 M: Group work
W: Discussion of Readings
F: Away at a conference
Possible Responses
3/13 Spring Break
3/20 MW: Checkins
F: No class
3/27 MW: Checkins continue
F: Discussion of Readings
4/3 MW: Group work
F: Discussion of Readings
Design Patterns
4/10 MW: Group work
F: Discussion of Readings
4/17 MWF: Checkins Guidelines
4/24 M: Checkins continue
W: Required Discussion
F: Presentation Prep
Presentations, Saturday April 29th!
5/1 M: Group work
W: In-class wrapup
Final Submissions due Friday, May 12th
Group Assessment

Course Description:

The senior capstone course provides computer science majors the opportunity to integrate the knowledge that they have gained from across the curriculum. Students are encouraged to work in teams, and can pursue either an applied or theory project. Students choosing applied projects participate in the identification of a problem, develop a project proposal outlining an approach to the problem's solution, implement the proposed solution, and test or evaluate the result. Students choosing a theory project conduct original research (e.g., develop a new algorighm) and evaluate its strengths and limitations. Regardless of the choice of project, students document their work in the form of written reports and oral presentations.

Prerequisites: Senior class standing, CSCI 240, and CSCI 361, or permission of instructor.

Learning Objectives:

Students successfully completing this course will have:


The bulk of your grade for this course comes from the project: You'll be graded on the initial project proposal, several brief "checkins" during the course of the semester, and the final project writeup and oral presentation. You'll also be graded on your response to the papers we read as a group. The following grade cutoffs are upper bounds — they might come down, but will not be set higher: A = 95, A- = 90, B+ = 88, B = 83, B- = 80, C+ = 77, C = 73, C- = 70, D+ = 67, D = 64, D- = 60, F = <60. Your overall grade is composed as follows:


Due to the discussion-based and teamwork-based nature of this class, attendance is mandatory. It will factor into your final grade. Lectures will begin and end on time, so please get to class before the start of the lecture. Use of cell phones is extremely disruptive — please remember to put phones on vibrate while in the classroom, and do your best to resist the temptation to check them during class.

You should be aware of the Student Integrity Code at the university. Any suspected cheating (e.g., plagiarizing code, copying homework solutions, etc.) will be reported to the Registrar, which may result in possible suspension/expulsion. See the Academic Integrity section in The Logger for more information.

Academic accommodations are available for students with disabilities who are registered with the Office of Disability Services. If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact your course work, please contact Peggy Perno, Director of the Office of Accessibility and Accommodation, 105 Howarth, x3395. She will determine with you what accommodations are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation is confidential. Please schedule an appointment with the instructor early in the semester to discuss any accommodations for this course which have been approved by the Disability Services Coordinator as indicated in your accommodation letter.

The University of Puget Sound recognizes that a time of bereavement can be difficult for a student. Therefore, the university provides a Student Bereavement Policy for students facing the loss of a family member. Students are normally eligible for, and faculty members are expected to grant, three consecutive weekdays of excused absences, without penalty, for the death of a family member, including parent, grandparent, sibling, or persons living in the same household. Should the student feel that additional days are necessary, the student must request additional bereavement leave from the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee. In the event of the death of another family member or friend not explicitly included within this policy, a bereaved student may petition for grief absence through the Dean of Students office for approval.

Emergency Response

Please review university emergency preparedness and response procedures posted at There is a link on the university home page. Familiarize yourself with hall exit doors and the designated gathering area for your class and laboratory buildings.

If building evacuation becomes necessary (e.g. earthquake), meet your instructor at the designated gathering area so she/he can account for your presence. Then wait for further instructions. Do not return to the building or classroom until advised by a university emergency response representative.

If confronted by an act of violence, be prepared to make quick decisions to protect your safety. Flee the area by running away from the source of danger if you can safely do so. If this is not possible, shelter in place by securing classroom or lab doors and windows, closing blinds, and turning off room lights. Lie on the floor out of sight and away from windows and doors. Place cell phones or pagers on vibrate so that you can receive messages quietly. Wait for further instructions.