General Information


Matt Bishop; office: 3059 Kemper Hall; phone: (530) 752-8060
email:; web:
office hours: WF 9:00-9:50AM, W 3:10-4:00PM, by appointment, or by chance

Teaching Assistants

Nina Gholami; email:; office hours: M 3:10-6:00PM, 2020 SLB (in the lab)
Dan Xu; email:; office hours: MW 12:10-3:00PM, W 3:10-6:00PM, 2020 SLB (in the lab)


MWF 10:00-10:50AM in 234 Wellman

Laboratory Sections

  1. Section 15-A01: M 12:10PM-3:00PM in 2020 Science Laboratory Building
  2. Section 15-A02: M 3:10-6:00PM in 2020 Science Laboratory Building
  3. Section 15-A03: W 12:10PM-3:00PM in 2020 Science Laboratory Building
  4. Section 15-A04: W 3:10-6:00PM in 2020 Science Laboratory Building

Course Outline

Practical introduction to computers, how they work, how you can use them, how computer scientists and technologists manipulate them. Software, including word processing and spreadsheets. Multimedia, games, printers, and the Internet. Introduction to programming using the Python programming language.

Course Goals

  1. Explore the structure of computers, their hardware and software.
  2. Introduce some application programs such as word processors and spreadsheets.
  3. Introduce the fundamental concepts of computer programming using Python
  4. Learn how to write a research term paper.


  • R. White, How Computers Work, Eighth Edition, Que Publishing, Indianapolis, IN (2006); ISBN 0-7897-3424-9.
  • M. Dawson, Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner, Second Edition, Thomson Course Technology, Boston, MA (2006); ISBN 1-59863-112-8.

Class Web Sites

The main class web site is on MyUCDavis. To access it, go to and log in using your campus-wide login and password. Then go to ECS 15 in your schedule. Handouts and other documents will be posted there. I will also post announcements there. You can also go to the alternate site, You can download the handouts from that site, but you cannot look at your grades there.

Labs and Term Paper

If no specific time is given, all work is due at 11:55PM on the due date. See the handout All About Lab Exercises and the Term Paper for more information.


Midterm: Wednesday, May 2, in class
Final: Saturday, June 9, 10:30AM-12:30PM
These are closed book and closed notes exams. No early or late exam will be given; if you miss an exam for medical reasons (you must document this with a doctor's note, and no other excuses are acceptable), you may be allowed or required to take a make-up exam, or the other parts of the course will be counted proportionally more (the choice is the instructor's). In particular, forgetting the time or place of an exam is not an excuse for missing it!


25%Laboratory exercises
30%Term paper (1% prospectus, 2% progress report, 2% "spew" paper, 25% paper)
Academic Integrity

Please see the Spring 2007 Class Schedule and Room Directory for a general discussion of this. In particular, for this course, all work submitted for credit must be your own. You may discuss your assignments with classmates or with me to get ideas or a critique of your ideas, but the ideas and words you submit must be your own. You must write up your own solutions and may neither read nor copy another student's solutions. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, collaboration is considered cheating and will be dealt with accordingly.

Here is a PDF version of this document.