Introduction to Computer Science


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Computer Science

Instructor: Richard Kahler

Course Syllabus

The following description is taken from the Stanford site CS101 created by Nick Parlante Stanford CS101

CS101 teaches the essential ideas of Computer Science for a zero-prior-experience audience. Computers can appear very complicated, but in reality, computers work within just a few, simple patterns. CS101 demystifies and brings those patterns to life, which is useful for anyone using computers today. That said, CS101 is easier than a full programming course. CS101 goes deep enough that you can see how computers work, their strengths and limitations, but without all the complexity of a full programming course.

In CS101, students play and experiment with short bits of "computer code" to bring to life to the power and limitations of computers. Everything works within the browser, so there is no extra software to download or install. CS101 also provides a general background on computers today: what is a computer, what is hardware, what is software, what is the internet. No previous experience is required other than the ability to use a web browser.

Syllabus/Topics

  • The nature of computers and code, what they can and cannot do
  • How computer hardware works: chips, cpu, memory, disk
  • Necessary jargon: bits, bytes, megabytes, gigabytes
  • How software works: what is a program, what is "running"
  • How digital images work
  • Computer code: loops and logic
  • Big ideas: abstraction, logic, bugs
  • How structured data works
  • How the internet works: ip address, routing, ethernet, wi-fi
  • Computer security: viruses, trojans, and passwords, oh my!
  • Analog vs. digital
  • Digital media, images, sounds, video, compression

This class is based on an online class, CS101, offered by Stanford. You will be expected to watch the course video lessons as homework. We will review the material in class and I will check to make sure you have done the exercises for that lesson. I will present additional relevant information in class as needed. There will be weekly quizzes to make sure you are keeping up with the schedule.

You will be signing up on the CS101 site in "Self-Paced Mode". But in our case, I will be setting the pace. You will see that the class is organized in six weeks of daily lessons and we will generally follow that schedule.

Course Resources

How is a microprocessor made?

Final Projects

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