What is computer science 1
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What is Computer Science 1. We learn how to program a computer using a mixture of C and C++ Basic constructs of the C++ language How to design and use simple data structures Understand the issues that matter to Computer Scientists and Professional Programmers

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What is Computer Science 1

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What is Computer Science 1

  • We learn how to program a computer using a mixture of C and C++

    • Basic constructs of the C++ language

    • How to design and use simple data structures

  • Understand the issues that matter to Computer Scientists and Professional Programmers

    • How to write complex programs quickly and efficiently

    • How to develop algorithms

    • How to organize data

    • How to maximize the reuse of data and programs

  • This course is the first in a sequence

    • CS1 - basic programming

    • CS2 - data structure programming

    • DSA - advanced programming and data structures

Computer Science I - Martin Hardwick

What you must ask yourself

  • Do I want to learn the details of programming?

    • Many computing activities such as using a spreadsheet or a database do not require you to understand how to write algorithms

    • Getting a program right can take a long time and be very tedious if you do not like sitting in front of a computer trying again and again

  • The experience and knowledge can be rewarding

    • Many problems in business, science and engineering can only be solved by writing a program

    • Most people will have to work with programmers during their careers so understanding what they do should be helpful

    • If you want to be a Computer Scientist and have not taken any Computer Science courses then you should start with CS1

Computer Science I - Martin Hardwick


  • If you think this course will be too hard but you still want to learn something about programming consider taking

    • CSCI 1190 Beginning C Programming for Engineers

    • BUT you cannot get credit for CS 1190 and any other CS course

  • If you think this course will be too easy consider going straight to CS II

    • Recommended for students with AP credit in Computer Science

    • You will not enjoy being bored

    • You will make it difficult for me to judge how well the course is progressing

    • Your fellow students will find it unpleasant watching you rush through the studios

Computer Science I - Martin Hardwick

Organization of CS 1

  • Lectures

    • On the topic of the previous and following Studio assignments

    • Background and context information that you will not get from just doing the studio assignment

    • There will be 10 quizzes during the lectures

  • Studios

    • Break into smaller sections – one TA per section – each section has its own lab time and location

    • Progressively learn how to write more complex C++ programs

    • Studio attendance is required and will be part of your grade

  • Exams

    • One final exam – which will also be your last chance to show you know how to write programs and algorithms

  • Homework

    • 4 Homework’s. First will be given at about Lecture 10.

Computer Science I - Martin Hardwick


  • Look at the rules in the syllabus

    • I will follow these rules when computing your grade

      • 40% Quizzes(best 8 @ 5% each)

      • 20% Studios (best 20 @ 1% each)

      • 24% Homeworks (4 @ 6%)

      • 16% Final

    • A >= 90, B >= 80, C >= 70 D > = 60 F < 60

    • I may raise your grade but I will never lower it unless you are caught cheating.

  • We make extensive use of RPI LMS in this course

    • Distribution of lecture notes (before the lecture)

    • Homework assignments

    • Distribution of grades for Studios, Homework’s and Exams

    • Announcements

  • The bulletin board

    • A good place to ask questions late at night.

    • Do not be rude to me, the TA’s or your fellow students.

Computer Science I - Martin Hardwick

Getting Started

  • A computer is a device for solving problems.

    • its advantage is its speed

  • Programming is nothing more than telling a computer how to solve a specific problem.

    • you can’t do this unless you know how to solve the problem yourself

  • Steps in using a computer:

    • understand the problem to be solved

    • figure out how to solve it yourself

    • develop an algorithm to solve the problem

    • write a program to tell the computer how to solve the problem

Computer Science I - Martin Hardwick


  • An algorithm is a step-by-step set of instructions for solving a problem.

    • must be complete

    • must be unambiguous

    • must be in terms that are understood by the reader (man or machine)

  • An algorithm must have enough detail for the purpose

    • Algorithm to be given to a knowledgeable programmer (less detail)

    • Algorithm to be compiled on a machine (more detail)

    • In CS 1 nearly all our algorithms will be for the machine

Computer Science I - Martin Hardwick

An Algorithm for people

  • How to make a Rocky Road Egg

    • Input : One egg. One Piece of bread. One Frying pan. One vat of

      margarine. One knife. One stove with burner.

    • Algorithm :

      • Spread margarine on both sides of bread with knife.

      • Cut a hole in the center of the bread with the knife.

      • Turn the burner on the stove on.

      • Put the frying pan on the turned on burner.

      • Put the bread on the frying pan.

      • Crack egg in the hole in the bread.

      • Wait 1.5 minutes and then flip bread.

      • Wait 1 minute then remove bread with egg from frying pan.

    • Output : A Rocky Road Egg

Computer Science I - Martin Hardwick

A machine Algorithm has to be very detailed

  • Because a computer can only:

    • add two numbers

    • subtract two numbers

    • multiply two numbers

    • divide two numbers

    • compare two numbers to determine which is bigger

    • based on a comparison, jump to a different part of a program

    • save a number in a word of memory or a register

    • fetch a number from a word of memory or a register

    • read data from an input device

    • write data to an output device

    • read and write data to secondary storage

    • interpret numbers as characters (e.g., letters of the alphabet)

  • Fortunately the compiler breaks our C++ algorithms into these really simple pieces

  • In CS 1 we will learn how to write C++ algorithms and how to use the C++ compiler to convert them into programs.

Computer Science I - Martin Hardwick


I/O Devices

RAM (memory)

Central Processing

Unit (CPU)


Secondary Storage

Computer Organization

Our programs manipulate this.

As we advance we will learn

more about its details

  • Sometimes called random access memory (RAM).

  • Stores the numbers (data) that a program uses when it runs on the computer.

  • Also stores the instructions of the program that is running on the computer.

  • Divided into fixed size units of memory called words.

    • each word stores one number




Computer Science I - Martin Hardwick

Number Systems

  • You are familiar with the base 10 number system in which each digit of a number is multiplied by a power of 10.

    • for example: 4325 = 4x103 + 3x102 + 2x101 + 5x100

    • for example: 103.23 = 1x102 + 0x101 + 3x100 + 2x10-1 + 3x10-2

  • Other number systems with a base different from 10 work in a similar fashion.

    • base 8 number system: 521.48 = 5x82 + 2x81 + 1x80 + 4x8-1 (337.5)

    • base 2 number system: 101.12 = 1x22 + 0x21 + 1x20 + 1x2-1 (5.5)

  • A base X number system uses X symbols for digits.

    • namely, the symbols: 0, 1, …, X-1

  • Two number systems are widely used in computers

    • binary -- base 2 with digits 0 and 1

    • hexadecimal -- base 16 with digits 0, 1, 2, …, 9, A, B, C, D, E, F

      • 12A4F16 = 1x164 + 2x163 + 10x162 + 4x161 + 15x160 (76367)

Computer Science I - Martin Hardwick

Computer Number System Examples

10110101110001011001110011110110 binary number

11 5 12 5 9 12 15 6

equivalent base 10 value for each group of 4 consecutive binary digits (bits)

B 5 C 5 9 C F 6

corresponding hexadecimal (base 16) digit


equivalent hexadecimal number

Computer Science I - Martin Hardwick

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