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Fall 2009 students work together using pair programming

Fall 2009 students pair programming in Scratch.

   CS10, The Beauty and Joy of Computing, is an exciting new course offered by the UC Berkeley EECS Dept. Computing has changed the world in profound ways. It has opened up wonderful new ways for people to connect, design, research, play, create, and express themselves. However, just using a computer is only a small part of the picture. The real transformative and empowering experience comes when one learns how to program the computer, to translate ideas into code. This course will teach students how to do exactly that, using BYOB (based on Scratch), one of the friendliest programming languages ever invented. It's purely graphical, which means programming involves simply dragging blocks around, and building bigger blocks out of smaller blocks.

Our new Mac lab

Our labs are held in the Apple Orchard, which is not only the newest lab on campus with the fastest machines, but also has the most natural light!

   But this course is far more than just learning to program. We'll focus on some of the "Big Ideas" of computing, such as abstraction, design, recursion, concurrency, simulations, and the limits of computation. We'll show some beautiful applications of computing that have changed the world, talk about the history of computing, and where it will go in the future. Throughout the course, relevance will be emphasized: relevance to the student and to society. As an example, the final project will be completely of the students' choosing, on a topic most interesting to them. The overarching theme is to expose students to the beauty and joy of computing. This course is designed for computing non-majors, although interested majors are certainly welcome to take the class as well! We are especially excited about bringing computing (through this course) to traditionally under-represented groups in computing, i.e., women and ethnic minorities.

   Some context: in the Fall of 2009, we piloted a 2-unit version of this course as the freshman/sophomore seminar CS39N: The Beauty and Joy of Computing to 20 students. It was such a success that we decided to move ahead to make this course our new computing course for non-majors, replacing the venerable CS3L and CS3S. Last fall (2010) was a 90-person pilot and we're continuing to grow the course as word spreads to more students. We're continually replacing the weakest parts of the curriculum and hope you'll enjoy!

Student feedback from Fall 2010.

   We will be using Pair Programming, described best by Laurie Williams, a computer science professor at North Carolina State University: "Two programmers working side-by-side, collaborating on the same design, algorithm, code or test. One programmer, the driver, has control of the keyboard/mouse and actively implements the program. The other programmer, the observer, continuously observes the work of the driver to identify tactical (syntactic, spelling, etc.) defects and also thinks strategically about the direction of the work. On demand, the two programmers can brainstorm any challenging problem. Because the two programmers periodically switch roles, they work together as equals to develop software."

   We are delighted to announce that this course was recently chosen as one of the 5 National pilots by the CollegeBoard (the folks that offer Advanced Placement exams) as a model for an exciting new First Course in Computing: Computer Science : Principles. Our intent is to provide this entire course, through Creative Commons, to the global community. As an example, all of our lecture webcasts are available, our readings are all free (linked from our calendar), and our labs and homework are publicly available via our Moodle server (also linked from our calendar). We'll package the whole thing into a single zip file at the end of the Fall 2010 semester. We'll even provide High Definition lecture videos with extra cool content! As well, we've been working closely with three local high school computer science teachers to develop this course, and they may run variants of this course at their school in the near future:

   λ  Josh Paley of Gunn High School in Palo Alto, CA
   λ  Eugene Lemon of Ralph Bunche High School in Oakland, CA
   λ  Ray Pedersen of Albany High School in Albany, CA



2011-06-06 Final Exam statistics and histogram
We've calculated the Final Exam statistics and histogram. The mean was 46 and the standard deviation was ~16.
2011-04-07 Midterm statistics and histogram
We've calculated the Midterm statistics and histogram. The mean was ~45 and the standard deviation was ~9, before correcting for difficulty on fractal questions.
2011-02-16 Quest statistics and histogram
We've calculated the Quest statistics and histogram. The mean was ~13 and the standard deviation was ~4, but remember this exam is only worth 5% of your grade, and you can replace your quest grade if you do better in your midterm.
2011-01-21 CS10 Kickoff Party!
We're going to be holding a kickoff event (with free food and games!) to get to know each other a little better. Swing by the Woz (430 Soda Hall) between 7 and 10pm to join the action.
2011-01-17 Welcome to CS10, everyone!
Those of us on staff are really excited about sharing the Beauty and Joy of Computing with you all, and are looking forward to a great semester! -The Staff


Webcasts of our lectures are freely available online!


Weekly Schedule

Hour Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9:00am   Lab 14
(Luke Segars)
200 Sutardja Dai
  Lab 14
(Luke Segars)
200 Sutardja Dai
10:00am     Discussion 104
(Luke Segars)
3 Evans Hall
1:00pm       Office Hours
(Navin Eluthesen)
751 Soda Hall
2:00pm Office Hours
(Luke Segars)
200 Sutardja Dai
      Office Hours
(Glenn Sugden)
651 Soda Hall
3:00pm Lecture
277 Cory Hall
277 Cory Hall
4:00pm Lab 11
(Glenn Sugden)
200 Sutardja Dai
Office Hours
(Luke Segars)
651 Soda Hall
Lab 11
(Glenn Sugden)
200 Sutardja Dai
  Discussion 101
(Glenn Sugden)
9 Evans Hall
5:00pm     Discussion 103
(Luke Segars)
9 Evans Hall
6:00pm Lab 12
(Navin Eluthesen)
200 Sutardja Dai
  Lab 12
(Navin Eluthesen)
200 Sutardja Dai
  Discussion 102
(Navin Eluthesen)
9 Evans Hall
8:00pm Lab 13
(Luke Segars)
200 Sutardja Dai
  Lab 13
(Luke Segars)
200 Sutardja Dai

Semester Schedule (subject to change)

Week Days in 2011 Readings (Sa/Su) Lecture 1 (M) Lab 1 (M/Tu) Lecture 2 (W) Lab 2 (W/Th) Discussion (F) HW, Exams & Projects
1 01-17 to 01-21 Prof. Harvey's Intro to Abstraction, BtB (55-60), Is Abstraction the key to Computing? (CACM), AP CS Principles Rationale, Big Ideas, and Practices No Class, MLK Holiday No Lab Abstraction Broadcast, Animations, Music Welcome, icebreaker activities, course expectations

Kickoff Party!
7pm @ Wozniak Lounge (430 Soda Hall)
Homework 0 :

due Jan 28
2 01-24 to 01-28 Kinect's Future, a Game Controller in Everything,
Justices Split on Violent Games,
Designing Games with a Purpose (GWAP)
3D Graphics Loops and Variables Video Games
Pre-course survey deadline!
Random, If, and Input Anatomy of a Computer & The Power of Binary Homework 1
due Jan 26
3 01-31 to 02-04 Scratch: Programming for All (CACM), Functions
TA Luke Segars
BYOB Programming Paradigms Lists I Video Games Homework 2:
part 1 and part 2
due Feb 2
4 02-07 to 02-11 BtB chapter 1 Algorithms I
TA Luke Segars
Lists II Algorithms II Algorithms Open Topic Homework 3
due Feb 9
5 02-14 to 02-18 None Quest
(exam and solutions, rubric)
Algorithmic Complexity Concurrency Concurrency Lists, Algorithms,
and Games
Homework 4
due Feb 16
6 02-21 to 02-25 Free Lunch is Over, Spending Moore's dividend (CACM) No Class, President's Day Holiday No Lab Recursion I Recursion I Project Introduction
Homework 5:
part 1 and part 2
due Feb 23
7 02-28 to 03-04 BtB Chapter 2 Social Implications I Project Work Recursion II Recursion II Recursion  
8 03-07 to 03-11 BtB Chapter 3
BtB Chapter 4
Social Implications II Project Work TA Glenn Sugden Applications that Changed the World Recursion III Social Implications of Computing  
9 03-14 to 03-18 BtB Chapter 5
BtB Chapter 6
Prof. Kathy Yelick :
Saving the World with Computing
Project Work Raffi Krikorian:
How Twitter Works
Applications that Changed the World Recursion Project
due March 18
10 03-21 to 03-25 None No Class
Spring Break
11 03-28 to 04-01

No reading

Midterm Review
March 27, 6 - 9pm
Wozniak Lounge (430/438 Soda Hall)
Prof. Björn Hartmann: HCI Midterm Survey
Online Midterm
Lambda + HOFs I
Lambda + HOFs I
March 31st, 6 - 8pm
155 Dwinelle
(exam) (solutions)
HOF + Lambda  
12 04-04 to 04-08 BtB Chapter 7
BtB Chapter 8
TA Navin Eluthesen
Lambda + HOFs II
Distributed Computing Distributed Computing Parallel Processing Paradigms  
13 04-11 to 04-15 A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing, The Great Robot Race (VIDEO), The Thinking Machine (VIDEO), Brian Harvey's AI notes, What is IBM's Watson?, The First Church of Robotics
(Thinking Machine optional)
Prof. Armando Fox : Cloud Computing Project Brainstorming, Team Selection, and Work Artificial Intelligence Project Work AI Paper / Blog
due April 15
14 04-18 to 04-22 Computers Solve Checkers -- It's a Draw Game Theory Project Work Limits of Computing Project Work Open Topic  
15 04-25 to 04-29 Quantum Leap, BtB: Conclusion
Future of Computing Project Work Summary and Farewell Final Course Survey
Online Final Exam
Final Thoughts  
16 05-02 to 05-06   RRR Week Final Project Presentations
Friday, May 6
306 Soda, 11am - 2pm
Final Project
due May 6 @ 11am
Blog comments
due May 6 @ 11:59pm
17 05-09 to 05-13 [Exam Week]
Final Exam Review Session
Sunday, May 8
Wozniak Lounge (430 / 438 Soda), 3 - 6pm

Reading Slides
Programming Slides
    Paper Final Exam and Solutions Wednesday, May 11
277 Cory Hall, 7 - 10pm
Supplementary Handout



Dan Garcia (bio)
777 Soda, (510) 517-4041
OH: F 4-5PM

Teaching Assistants

Luke Segars (bio)
360 Hearst Mining, x2-1268
OH: M 2-3PM, T 4-5PM

Navin Eluthesen (bio)
OH: Th 1-2PM

Glenn Sugden (bio)
OH: F 2-3PM


Courtney Wang

Pierce Vollucci (bio)


For the most part, we would prefer to teach this course without grades. What a wonderful concept, learning for learning sake! However, even though we can't change the "system" overnight, we can create grading policies that support learning as much as possible. The various course activities will contribute to your grade as follows:

Activity Course Points Percentage of Total Grade
Weekly Quizzes and Homework 60 15%
Paper 60 15%
Midterm Project 60 15%
Final Project 60 15%
Quest 20 5%
Midterm 60 15%
Final Exam 80 20%

How We'll Calculate Your Grade

Your letter grade will be determined by total course points, as shown in the table below. There is no curve; your grade will depend only on how well you do, not on how well everyone else does. Incomplete grades will be granted only for dire medical or personal emergencies that cause you to miss the final exam, and only if your work up to that point is satisfactory.

Points Grade
390-400 A+
370-389 A  
360-369 A- 
350-359 B+
330-349 B  
320-329 B- 
310-319 C+
290-309 C  
280-289 C- 
240-279 D  
< 240 F  


   λ BYOB : Build Your Own Blocks
   λ Scratch Forums
   λ Blown to Bits
   λ Debugging Rules!
   λ UC Berkeley
   λ College of Engineering
   λ Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences
   λ Webcast archive of 2010Fa lectures
   λ Solutions to Lab Exercises

Contact Webmaster | 2014-06-28@01:24:55 PDT
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