2008 November 20 / jjddaavviiss@@ccaarrlleettoonn..eedduu

Data Structures

Carleton College CS 201, Fall 2008, Prof. Joshua R. Davis


This is a second course in computer science. The focus is on data structures, which are used to organize information in computer programs. Examples include linked lists, arrays, stacks, queues, trees, graphs, and hash tables. For each data structure, our goal is to understand both its theoretical properties and its practical value. We perform a mathematical analysis of its efficiency, and we apply the data structure to a significant programming problem. Indeed, most of the assignments in this course take the form of programs, in Python.

The official prerequisite is CS 111 (Introduction to Computer Science). More generally, this course is appropriate for students who are comfortable with programming, including recursion and objects, and who have not taken more advanced courses. Talk to me if you are concerned about your background.

Our class meets in CMC 209 during period 2A (MW 9:50AM-11:00AM, F 9:40AM-10:40AM). The basic materials are

Here's how you get in contact with me:

Dr. Joshua R. Davis (most people call me Josh)
E-mail: jjddaavviiss@@ccaarrlleettoonn..eedduu
Office: CMC 327, x4482
Office hours: M 5A (1:40-2:30), T 2C (10:00-11:00), W 3A (11:00-12:00). You can also make an appointment; simply pick a free time from my weekly schedule and e-mail me. You can also talk to me after class.

There is also a prefect for this course. A prefect holds a couple of review sessions each week, in which you review material from class, get questions answered, tackle additional problems, etc. The prefect is also available for individual tutoring.

Jacob Hilty
E-mail: hhiillttyyjj@@ccaarrlleettoonn..eedduu

Additionally, our computer lab (CMC 306) is often staffed with computer science majors who serve as lab assistants. They can help you with technical computer problems ("How do I run my Python program?") as well as conceptual questions about assignments.


Final grades (A, B, C, etc.) are assigned according to an approximate curving process. By this I mean that there are no predetermined percentages (90%, 80%, 70%, etc.) required for specific grades. The following elements contribute to the final grade.

You are expected to spend at least 10 hours per week on this course outside class. Some students need to spend more than 10 hours. If you spend less, then your education is suboptimal; we should discuss ways to enrich it.

Working With Others

You are encouraged to work with others on homework. Work together to figure out the problems/programs, but write/type them up on your own, in your own words, and hand them in on your own. You may not copy someone else's work or allow them to copy yours. Presenting someone else's work as your own is an act of academic dishonesty.

Special Accommodations

During the term, you have one free pass to hand in an assignment late. Here is how you activate it. Instead of handing in the assignment, send me e-mail (by the due date) declaring that you are using your late pass and proposing a new due date. If the due date is extended by only one class meeting, then no explanation is necessary; if you need longer, then convince me. Use your free pass wisely; once you have used it, no late assignments are accepted, except in extreme circumstances that are truly beyond your control.

If some medical condition affects your participation in class or your taking of exams, let me know in the first week of class. You may need to make official arrangements with the Office of Disability Services.


M 09/15011.1-1.3introductionHomework 1 (due Tue)
W 09/17021.4-1.7PythonAssignment 2 (due Mon)
F 09/19037.2linked listslinkedlist.py
M 09/22044.1-4.2.1doubly-linked lists, efficiencyAssignment 3 (due Mon)
W 09/24052.3.1-2.3.5efficiency, stacksstack.py
F 09/2606rest of 2.3stacksliststackqueue.pdf, stackapps.pdf
M 09/29072.4queues, radix sortAssignment 4 (due Sat)queue.py, radixsort.py
W 10/01083.1-3.3recursionHanoi.zip, hanoi.py
F 10/03093.4-
M 10/0610Exam 1
W 10/0811recursionAssignment 5 (due Mon)
F 10/10125.1-5.4trees
M 10/1313treesAssignment 6 (due Wed)
W 10/15145.5.1parsing
F 10/17155.5.2binary tree traversals
M 10/20midterm break
W 10/22165.6binary search trees, dictionariesAssignment 7 (due Mon)bst.py, dicthasbst.py
F 10/2417AVL treestree-balancing applet
M 10/27185.7binary heaps, priority queues
W 10/29194.3.3building heaps, heap sort, hashingheap sort applet
F 10/3120hash tablesExam 2 (due Mon)hash table applet
M 11/0321hash tablesAssignment 8 (due Mon)hashtable.py
W 11/05224.3searching
F 11/07234.4sorting
M 11/10246.1-6.3graphs
W 11/12256.4.1breadth-first search
F 11/14266.4.2depth-first searchAssignment 9 (due Wed)vertex.py, graph.py
M 11/17276.4, 6.5topological sorting, Dijkstra's algorithmCS Courses
W 11/1928conclusion, evaluationsgraphics3D.py
S 11/22Final Exam, 8:30AM-11:00AM