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CS559-2006 Web

Staff Login


1.  Collaboration

Computer graphics is (usually) a team sport. In fact, learning computer graphics (and, arguably, learning in general) is best done in collaboration with others. Unfortunately, in a university class setting, we have the unfortunate constraint that we must grade individuals independently, so we need to have people work independently on graded assignments so that we can assess them. Therefore, there is a fine line between "collaboration" and "academic misconduct".

For CS559, we want to encourage collaboration. However, we also need to make sure that each individual gets appropriate credit for there work.

Students are encouraged to discuss class topics and assignments with other students, subject to the following rules.

  1. If you are unsure if something is collaboration or academic misconduct, please ask the instructor or TA for clarification.
  2. No collaboration is allowed on the exams.
  3. Ultimately, each student is responsible for the material. Projects and exams will require you to understand the assignments, so be careful not to rely on help since at some point you might need to do it your self.
  4. Collaboration must be a two way street. The person giving help must OK it. (e.g. don't look at someone else's work without their permission).
  5. It is not OK to broadcast help. Its OK to answer someone who asks for a hint, but its not OK to post a hint to a mailing list. If you have something that you would like to offer to the class, please send it to the instructor.
  6. Every student must turn in their own assignment, and is responsible for it.
  7. For programming assignments, it is acceptable to "borrow" large portions of the assignment (subject to the proper attribution rule below). In fact, we'll give you sample solutions that you can copy from.
  8. Projects must be "substantially" written by the student handing it in. In particular, the "meat" of the project must be completed by the student handing in the project.
  9. Any code that you didn't write must be given proper attribution. If you grab a piece of code from the web (including the class sample code!), another student, some book, ... - YOU MUST SAY SO! It is OK to use pieces of sample code - providing that you give proper credit to the author.


  • It is OK to ask a classmate for help on one of the questions on a written assignment. It is not OK to "borrow" their assignment and copy it without their permission. It is not OK to just copy it without understanding it (since you won't learn the material).
  • It is OK to ask a classmate for help looking over your code to find a bug. It is not OK to use a piece of their code without giving them proper attribution, or if its an important part of a project.
  • It is OK to use the provided example code, or a data structure implementation you find on the web PROVIDED THAT YOU GIVE PROPER ATTRIBUTION. It is not OK to use a piece of code on the web for a central piece of an assignment (like a required image processing routine)

2.  Written Assignments

Written assignments are always due at the beginning of class on a Tuesday. If you aren't going to come to class, deliver the assignment to the TA beforehand, or give the assignment to a classmate to hand in for you. (the beginning of class is to discourage people from skipping class to do the assignment).

When an assignment is delivered to the TA, they will note the time it is turned in on it. The student should make sure this happens.

Late assignments may be handed to the TA. The TA may accept them at his discretion. In particular, the TA will not accept assignments turned in after the assignment has been graded (which may be soon after the due date). Late assignments will be noted and will be penalized.

Your grade for the written assignments will be the average of the 6 highest. In the event that there are 8 assignments (which we expect there to be), this means we'll drop the 2 lowest. We may choose to skip one of the assignments, however.

3.  Computing Policies

This class has been assigned to the "Storm" laboratory in B240 Computer Sciences. 559 students have priority on these machines, so if the lab is full of CS302 students feel free to ask them to another lab.

You are free to work on other machines (such as your home computer or laptop) subject to the following caveats:

  1. Your code must build and run on the Storm machines. As far as we are concerned, if it doesn't compile and run on a Storm, it doesn't run.
  2. Working in the lab can be a good collaborative experience, and we encourage this kind of collaboration (see below).

Your programs must be written in C++ (since C is a proper subset of C++, that's OK too). For some thoughts on C++, see the C++ hints page.

The compiler provided by the CSL for the storm labs is Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003. This is not the most recent version of the compiler. If you want to work on your home machine or laptop, our department wide license allows students in classes to get copies. Contact Mohamed for details.

Note: that if you choose to develop your software using another compiler, you still need to be able to compile your code in the storm labs. We cannot provide any help to you if you choose to use other tools.

People are going to (and in fact have) asked:
Yes, we really need you to do your projects so they compile and run on the Storm machines.
Yes, this means that you need to work with an older version of the compiler.

If you want to work on another machine (like your home machine or laptop) it is your responsibility to make sure your program also runs on the Storm machines. If your machine is running Windows, we can provide you a copy of VS .NET 2003.

If you want to develop your code in a different compiler/development environment (such as Visual Studio 2005), it is your responsibility to "port" your code to the Storm machines (e.g. get it to compile and run under VS .NET 2003).

Please see the FAQ as well.

4.  Programming Projects

Details of programming projects will be given when they are assigned.

Projects are always due on a Tuesday, at the beginning of class. The time that a project is considered "handed in" is determined by the timestamps in the student's handin directory.

Projects will be graded in two parts: an in-person demo (where the student will demonstrate their program to the instructor or TA) and the instructor/TA's "reading" of the project.

Late projects will be accepted for a penalty. Projects will not be accepted after the scheduled demos begin. Late projects will be considered either "late" (handed in after 9:30 Tuesday, but before 9:30am Friday) or "very late" (handed in after 9:30am on Friday, but before the first scheduled demo).

A student may turn in one project late without penalty. After that, late projects receive a 1/2 letter grade penalty. Very late projects receive another 1/2 letter grade penalty in addition to any late penalty.

5.  Programming Assignments

(note: Programming Assignments are distinct from projects)

The purpose of the programming assignments is to make sure that you can use the tools needed for the programming projects.

Often we will provide you with a sample solution. It is actually acceptable to simply turn these in (providing you follow the rules on programming, especially involving documentation and attribution).

What we care about is that you work out the mechanics required to do the upcoming projects. If you want to make the program do something interesting, go ahead. See Extra Credit below.

Assignments turned in after they are due may be penalized. Assignments turned in after the TA has graded the assignment will not be counted.

6.  Some Standards on Project Evaluation

It is MUCH more important to do the basic/required parts of the assignment correctly than to have bells and whistles. It is very depressing to give someone an F for failing to meet the basic requirements when they have written 5000 lines of code to make a spiffy user interface.

You must be able to use your program. Generally, the main part of grading projects will be a demo session where you drive your program to show us what it can do.

We will look at your code. Therefore, it is important that it is well documented. For example, we might check to see if we can find the place where you implement a certain operation.

A program that dies gracefully (prints an error message) is much better than one that crashes. Do everything you can to make sure your programs do not crash.

Your programs should be robust in the face of bogus inputs. Expect us to test this.

7.  Turning in Programs

Programming assignments and projects are to be handed in by placing them in a specified directory. The exact name of this directory will be given in the assignment, but it will generally have the form:


where "yourid" is your CS login id, and "a1" is the name of the assignment (a1 = programming assignment 1, p2 = project 2). If your directory does not exist, or if the permissions are set incorrectly (such that either you cannot write files in it), please contact the TA.

You must turn in all files required to build your program. This includes the source files, the header files, the visual studio project files, and the vis studio solution files. If you use some libraries other than the ones we provide, please make arrangements with us.

You are NOT to turn in executables. Just the source code (and the project files), documentation, and any extra things explicitly asked for in the assignment.

You must document your code. Everything you hand in should have a "readme.txt" file explaining what each file is. Every file should have a "head" comment explaining what's in it. If you use code written by others as part of your program, you must give proper attribution in both the readme file and the code files themselves.

If you do use code written by someone else (including the instructor or TA or web resource), you should be sure to give that person credit in both your readme file and mark the borrowed code clearly.

Do not work in the handin directory. Copy your files there once the program is working. (there won't be enough disk space for everyone to put all of their working files in the handin directory). You should only copy the following files into the directory:

  • the C++ source and header files
  • the fluid source files (.fl) if you use fluid (if you don't know what fluid is, don't worry)
  • your Visual Studio solution file
  • your Visual Studio project file
  • any other source files (for example, if you use MFC you would have resource files, or if you used fluid, you would have an ".fl")
  • a readme.txt file that explains what your program is, what it does, how to build it, how to use it, what pieces you "borrowed," what each of the files is, ...

In short, we need all the files necesary to build your program (and a readme file). We do not want the executable, the debugging information, the .obj files, ...

Also, you need to configure things so they will compile in the CS environment. If you build your programs at home or somewhere besides a CS machine, you will probably need to change your project settings.

8.  Extra Credit

We encourage students to work above and beyond the minimum requirements. For example:

  • We may give extra readings beyond the standard course material. (This material will NOT be tested on the exams).
  • You may submit a programming assignment that does something cool.
  • You may add additional features to your projects, or do more parts of the project than required.
  • You may participate as a subject in a graphics group research experiment.

Extra credit does not directly affect your grade. You cannot score better than an "A" on any project or exam (or a "check" on an assignment). Doing something extra on one thing will not make up for a deficiency on another.

You should do extra work because you want to learn more and gain more experience with the topic. Not because it will help with your grade. We will (usually) note extra work and thank you for doing it (since it makes our lives more interesting).

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Page last modified on September 20, 2006, at 08:42 AM