12 Replies - 2004 Views - Last Post: 04 September 2010 - 09:00 PM

#1 Brewer   User is offline

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Preparing for Introduction to Computer Science

Posted 31 August 2010 - 06:59 AM

Is there anything I can do to better prepare myself for an Introduction to Computer Science class? I am starting university soon and I want to leave my bad high school habits behind. I want to graduate in the top 5% of my class and I am sure that I can do it.

Here is the course description:

Quote

This course is designed for potential computer science majors with very little or no
background in programming and is also available for non-majors.

This course lays the foundation for the art and science of computing. It gives students an
overview of some important areas of Computer Science including fundamental and topical issues
in computers, languages, programming and applications.


Also, here is the course outline:

Quote

Representative Course Outline
• Definition of Computer Science
• Introduction to Computer Systems
a. Basic Model of a Computer System
i. Hardware
ii. Software
1. Systems Software
2. Application Software
• Data Representation and Storage
a. Symbols and Symbol Systems
b. Propositional Logic
• Machine Architecture
41
a. CPU
b. Stored program concept
c. Program execution
• Problem Solving
a. Abstraction
b. Generalization
c. Algorithms
i. Formal definition of algorithm
ii. Introduction to control structures
d. Types of problems - Introduction to computable and non-computable problems
e. Introduction to Efficiency and Complexity of Algorithms
• Programming Languages
a. Historical perspective of programming languages
b. Implementing programming concepts using a programming language
c. Compilation process

This post has been edited by .i7: 31 August 2010 - 06:59 AM


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Replies To: Preparing for Introduction to Computer Science

#2 KYA   User is offline

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Re: Preparing for Introduction to Computer Science

Posted 31 August 2010 - 11:25 AM

Not really. If it required any prerequisites it wouldn't be an "intro" class.
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#3 mostyfriedman   User is offline

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Re: Preparing for Introduction to Computer Science

Posted 31 August 2010 - 11:34 AM

I have seen your questions in the Java forum, and i think you are doing a good job preparing for college. I don't know when do you exactly start but there are a few things that could help you out, so you may want to work on some of them before starting. First of all your programming basics, I see you are already working on them, and i think you're doing pretty well, so just keep reading, practicing, and make sure you don't skip anything you don't understand perfectly. Secondly I think you should work on your mathematics and problem solving. If you have poor problem solving skills then you will most certainly struggle during your university years, if you are already decent with your problem solving, then challenge yourself with harder problems. I recommend 2 books, concrete mathematics and the art and craft of problem solving, these books are great for any computer science student. You may also want to try solving algorithmic problems, go to www.spoj.pl, www.topcoder.com, or www.uva.onlinejudge.org. Since you are interested in Data Structures and algorithms, then the books and sites I just recommended for you will help you greatly, especially if you would like to participate in any programming contests that your university holds, and also you will probably do pretty well in your advanced computer science classes. I guess that would be more than enough for now to give you a good push for preparing for college, my recommendation is to start with general problem solving, and then later start with algorithmic problems. Sorry for the long post, and good luck :)
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#4 Brewer   User is offline

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Re: Preparing for Introduction to Computer Science

Posted 31 August 2010 - 05:25 PM

Thanks for taking the time to reply mostyfriedman! I just got a gift card good for $50 at a chapters so I will definitely check out those books! Thanks again.
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#5 SpeedisaVirus   User is offline

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Re: Preparing for Introduction to Computer Science

Posted 03 September 2010 - 10:56 AM

By being here you are probably more than prepared for intro. A lot of people can't grasp flow control operations or loops before the class or even write helloworld. You can clearly do better than that from your posting here so you are aces...if you really want to be a pimp in the intro class read about data structure implementations and recursion. My intro class had recursion in the material and that was probably the hardest part for most people I knew to understand.
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#6 Brewer   User is offline

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Re: Preparing for Introduction to Computer Science

Posted 03 September 2010 - 01:05 PM

I will definitely do that! To be honest I am not completely sure what recursion is. :)
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#7 sparkart   User is offline

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Re: Preparing for Introduction to Computer Science

Posted 03 September 2010 - 09:56 PM

Recursion is basically when a function calls itself:
void function( int v )
{
  std::cout << v << std::endl;

  if ( v > 0 )
    function( --v );

  return;
}

This post has been edited by sparkart: 03 September 2010 - 09:57 PM

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#8 Brewer   User is offline

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Re: Preparing for Introduction to Computer Science

Posted 04 September 2010 - 11:25 AM

Wouldn't that create an infinite loop though?
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#9 macosxnerd101   User is offline

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Re: Preparing for Introduction to Computer Science

Posted 04 September 2010 - 12:21 PM

Not if you have a base case, where no more recursive calls are made.

Also, for suggestions of what to cover, check out my thread Getting Better at Programming Java. If you can get through stage 1 and some of stage 2, you should be well ahead of the game for your intro class.
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#10 mostyfriedman   User is offline

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Re: Preparing for Introduction to Computer Science

Posted 04 September 2010 - 01:05 PM

one of the books i recommended for you, concrete mathematics, walks you through recurrence problems in the first chapter. Its a very nice chapter that will teach you what are recurrences and how to solve them. you will also learn a better definition for recurrence than "a function that calls itself", I don't like that definition even if that's what you do in code, its not the correct definition for it.
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#11 macosxnerd101   User is offline

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Re: Preparing for Introduction to Computer Science

Posted 04 September 2010 - 01:08 PM

Quote

you will also learn a better definition for recurrence than "a function that calls itself", I don't like that definition even if that's what you do in code, its not the correct definition for it.

I agree with you there. I strongly encourage working with Trees when covering recursion, as Trees are recursively defined. Plus, I find Tree (and Graph) theory a lot of fun.
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#12 Brewer   User is offline

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Re: Preparing for Introduction to Computer Science

Posted 04 September 2010 - 04:37 PM

Unfortunately, mostyfriedman, the books you recommended are fairly expensive and aren't in the budget at the moment. I will definitely give them a look when I can. I have full access to the university library, so maybe they will be there!
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#13 giuseppe105   User is offline

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Re: Preparing for Introduction to Computer Science

Posted 04 September 2010 - 09:00 PM

I struggled with recursion and haven't looked back at it since i passed it in high school. I hope i can put a better effort in at college to completely understand it.

You can do anything you put your mind too.

I always shoot for best. Instead of trying to be in the 5% why not be the best.

give it your all.

if you don't get that then I'm sure you will land in the 5%
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