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This is an introductory computer half-course offered in the Fall and Winter terms by the School of Computing at Queen's University. It surveys many fields of computing science, presents case studies of fascinating examples of computers in use in diverse areas, and discusses the possibilities, limitations, and risks of computers. Particular attention is given to issues of security, privacy and ethics.

Weekly Schedule

LectureTuesday8:30 am9:20 amJeffery 155/157
Lecture/Lab*Wednesday10:30 am11:20 amJeffery 155/157
Lecture/Lab/Quiz*Friday9:30 am10:20 amJeffery 155/157

*There will be twelve labs during the term of which your best ten will be counted. In most cases, labs will be held during the Friday meeting, excepting in weeks 3, 6, 9 and 12 (quiz weeks) when labs will take place during the Wednesday meetings. This schedule is subject to change with minimal notice! Check the CISC P81 News section of this page, below, frequently for such announcements.

NOTE: This course may not be taken concurrent with nor subsequent to CISC 124.

CISC P81 News

Look here frequently for important announcements and items of interest. More recent entries are at the top.


  • 2017-02-09

    Quiz 2 reading - library access BROKEN, so...

    As I write, the usual method of downloading the Quiz 2 reading, Who does that anyway? Predictors and personality correlates of cyberbullying in college, is broken, so I've put a copy of it on the Notes page.

  • 2017-02-07 (original posting 2017-01-24)

    UPDATED: Quiz 2 Rescheduled

    Owing to the unavailability of our TAs for proctoring, I've been obliged to reschedule Quiz 2 to our regularly scheduled 8:30 class on February 28, which is the Tuesday following Reading Week. The Week 6 lab will still be held on Wednesday, February 15. By popular demand (and because I can cover all of Week 7's material in a single lecture) there will be NO class on Friday, February 17.

    Original Schedule:

    • Wednesday, February 15: Lab 6
    • Friday, Febrary 17: Quiz 2
    • Tuesday, February 28: Week 7 part 1

    Revised Schedule:

    • Wednesday, February 15: Lab 6 (no change)
    • Friday, February 17: No class
    • Tuesday, February 28: Quiz 2

    Please let me know if you cannot, for some reason, write Quiz 2 at the new time.

  • 2017-02-02

    Visualising Complexities

    I mentioned in the Week 4 notes that the average complexity of Quicksort (which is proportional to N log2 N), is greater than linear complexity (proportional to N), but much lower than the complexity of exchange sort (proportional to N2). I did not, however provide a chart showing the difference graphically. Here is an Excel spreadsheet that contains just such a chart for values of N from 1 to 25, and also plots log2 N, the better-than-linear complexity (proportional to N) of binary search. Complexities compared.xlsx

  • 2017-01-21

    Additional Help With Non-Negative Binary Integers

    These supplementary notes for Week 2 should help you to understand the use of binary as it applies to non-negative integers. The second of the two links will show you how to build a binary table quickly and easily.

  • 2017-01-18

    Week 3 notes posted

    Those who attended lecture this week are aware that I got a start on the Week 3 notes today (Wednesday). Those notes have been posted. There is only one lecture period - Tuesday's - in Week 3 as Wednesday's class is being used for Lab 3 and Friday's for Quiz 1.

  • 2017-01-02

    Watch This Space!

    Check this page frequently for course-related announcements.