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Computer Science

The most important aspect of Computer Science is problem solving, an essential skill for life. Students study algorithmic processes and the design, development and analysis of software and hardware used to carry out these processes. Since computers are used for a variety of purposes by people in all walks of life, there is a significant human side to computer science as well.

Some graduates choose to continue their studies in graduate or professional school (not necessarily in computer science) before seeking employment. Majors accepting positions upon graduation typically work for companies that provide computing hardware, software or services for use in business, education, government and research.

The department regularly offers Computer Science I and other courses of a more general nature for students interested in surveying key topics in computing. Departmental programs consist of a computer science major and a computer science minor. Most courses provide hands-on computing experience.

Computing facilities include pen-based computer laboratories that are part of the University network. They provide tools for computer science, standard desktop productivity, e-mail and connectivity to the Internet. The department maintains a state-of-the-art laboratory of Linux workstations with high-end servers that provide robust file services and a full array of software development tools. The department also has a computer-based, cooperative-work laboratory and a lounge for use by its majors. University programs of interest to computer science majors include: Science Research Fellows Program, Information Technology Associates Program and Winter Term internships. Some employment and research opportunities with the department and the Computer Center are available during the year and summer. Finally, the student computer clubs (Association for Computing Machinery and ACM-Women) provide coordinated programs each year.

Courses in Computer Science

CSC 121 Computer Science I. (1 course, Science and Math)
This is an introductory course in which problem solving and algorithm development are studied by considering computer science topics, such as computer graphics, graphical user interfaces, modeling and simulation, artificial intelligence and information management systems. Interesting and relevant programming assignments related to these topics are written in a high-level programming language that supports objects. Additional assignments utilize writing and data analysis to reinforce central course concepts and to address related areas of computing, such as ethics, history and the meaning of intelligence. The course meets three hours in class and two hours in laboratory (3-2). Offered each semester. Not offered pass/fail.

CSC 122 Data Structures. (1 course, Science and Math)
This course builds on CSC 121 and includes programming topics such as sorting and searching, sets, recursion and dynamic data types. Additional concepts involve data type abstraction and implementation developed through studying structures such as lists, stacks, queues, hash tables and binary search trees. The course emphasizes object oriented implementation of these structures. Students learn tools for algorithm analysis and explore the use of standard libraries. The concept of tradeoffs (i.e., time vs. space, iteration vs. recursion, static vs. dynamic) recurs as a theme throughout the course. Prerequisite: CSC 121 or advanced placement by department chair. Offered each semester. Not offered pass/fail.