ITS 102 (Spring 2017)
What's Logical

[ General Information | Schedule | Resources | Requirements ]

General Information

Course description: This course introduces students to well-known interesting problems and logical puzzles. In addition to solving the puzzles and problems, we also discuss their implications and applications. | Prerequisites: Knowledge of basic algebra in middle school and high school is required. No programming experience is require, but could be interesting to use. | Credits: 1.

Course goals: Improve critical thinking by developing evaluative, problem-solving, and expressive skills. Enhance communication skills through discussions, group work, presentations, or debates. Develop intellectual curiosity and better understand the role of a student in an academic community. Learn well-known interesting problems and logical puzzles and how to solve them. Learn implications and applications of the problems and solutions.

Instructor: Annie Liu | Email: | Office: New Computer Science 237 | Phone: 631-632-8463 | Office hours: Mon 2:00-2:30PM, Thu 9:30-10:00AM, email for an appointment, or stop by any time I'm around.

Lectures: Thu 10:00-11:20AM, in New Computer Science 115.

Textbook: There is no required textbook for this course; relevant materials and additional references will be given as the course proceeds.

Grading: Lecture critiques, in-class exercises, two assignments, and a project presentation, each worth 10%, 50%, 2 x 10%, and 20%, respectively, of the grade. Reduced credit for late submissions, 20% per day. The following grading scale applies: 93-100 (A) 90-92 (A-) 87-89 (B+) 83-86 (B) 80-82 (B-) 77-79 (C+) 73-76 (C) 70-72 (C-) 67-69 (D+) 60-66 (D) 59-0 (F)

Course homepage:


01/26 Introduction and overview. Questionnaire

02/02 Objects, real or not. Assignment 1.

02/09 Relationships.

02/16 Constraints.

02/23 Concurrency.

03/02 Distributed computing. Assignment 2

03/09 Knowledge.

03/16 No class.. Have a nice spring break!

03/23 Games.

03/30 Project presentations. Presentations materials

04/06 Summary and conclusion.

04/19 Showcase. Poster or multimedia (optional). 1 PM in SAC Ballroom A



Lecture Critiques

In-Class Exercises

Assignment 1

Assignment 2



Interactive Site of This Course, for students in the class

Computer Science Department Computing Labs


Learn all information on the course site. Check the site periodically for announcements and other dynamic contents.

Attend all lectures and take good notes. This is the most efficient way to learn the course materials, because we will both distill and elaborate paper materials and discuss other important materials. We will start promptly on time, with quick reviews every time, followed by exercises or quizzes. We will have every student participate in solving problems and presenting solutions in class.

Do all course work. The readings are to help you preview and review the materials discussed in the lectures. The assignments and project are to provide concrete experiences with the basic concepts and methods covered in the lectures. The exercises and quizzes are to help check that you are keeping up with the lectures and the assignments.

Your handins, whether in electronic form or on paper, should include the following information at the top: your name, student id, course number, assignment number, and due date, and should be submitted in a neat and organized fashion.

Your programming solutions should always be submitted with a README.txt file explaining where things are, what you did and found for the assignment (that is not described in the assignment handout), and how to run and test your code. This file is worth a non-trivial portion of the grade.

Your approach to solving problems is as important as your final solutions; you need to show how you arrived at your solutions and include appropriate explanations. Always include good explanations in your README file and good comments in your code.

If you feel your grade was assigned incorrectly, please bring it up no later than two weeks after the grade was posted.

Ask questions and get help. Ask questions in class, in office hours, and in the Q&A forum. Talk with your classmates, and share ideas, but not solutions written or electronic.

Academic Integrity: All course work must be done individually, unless specified otherwise; you may discuss ideas with others and look up references, but you must write up your solutions independently and credit all sources that you used. Any plagiarism or other forms of cheating discovered will have a permanent consequence in your university record.

Each student must pursue his or her academic goals honestly and be personally accountable for all submitted work. Representing another person's work as your own is always wrong. Faculty are required to report any suspected instances of academic dishonesty to the Academic Judiciary. For more comprehensive information on academic integrity, including categories of academic dishonesty, please refer to the academic integrity website at

Americans with Disabilities Act: If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact your course work, please contact Disability Support Services, ECC (Educational Communications Center) Building, Room 128, (631)632-6748. They will determine with you what accommodations, if any, are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation is confidential.

Critical Incident Management: Stony Brook University expects students to respect the rights, privileges, and property of other people. Faculty are required to report to the Office of University Community Standards any disruptive behavior that interrupts their ability to teach, compromises the safety of the learning environment, or inhibits students ability to learn.

Final Note (thanks Professor Shyam Sharma for sharing this): College is more than the sum of the courses you take, or the numbers on your transcript; here you also build relationships with professors and advisors, academic staff and classmates. If you anticipate requesting me (and this is true with any professor) to write recommendation letters for internship, job application, scholarship/fellowship, or graduate school, then it is wise to demonstrate your best commitment to studies in this course. If I've observed you as the kind of student college professors want to rave about, I will rave about you in my letters. I respect in students a genuine interest in learning and intellectual honesty in engaging with complex ideas, regularity and punctuality in class, hard work and collegiality with peers and instructor, significant progress and resilience during the semester, a willingness to go beyond "requirements", and so on. In a way, it starts with treating a required course like this with curiosity and interest, as a good learning opportunity, taking full advantage of the course and my support. When I don't have much to say---or include clear, strong, and positive details---I ask students to find another recommender who knows their strengths better. I add this note on the syllabus because students in the past have said that they "wish" they'd known about the idea early on.