General Information


Matt Bishop, Email:
Web site:
Office: 2209 Watershed Science; Phone: (530) 752-8060
Hours: M 12:30PM–1:30PM; Tu 1:30PM–2:30PM, W 10:00AM–11:00AM, Th 10:30AM–11:00AM

Teaching Assistants

Samuel Johnson, email:
Shengren Li, email:
Hours: The TAs will hold office hours during the labs.


TuTh 9:00–10:20 AM in 212 Veihmeyer

Discussion Section

Lab section 15-A01: M 12:10–3:00 PM in 1131 Meyer (TA: Shengren Li)
Lab section 15-A02: M 3:10–6:00 PM in 1131 Meyer (TA: Sam Johnson)
Lab section 15-A03: W 2:10–5:00 PM in 1131 Meyer (TA: Shengren Li)
Lab section 15-A04: F 12:10–3:00 PM in 1131 Meyer (TA: Shengren Li)

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

Some goals we hope you achieve:


Class Web Site

The class web site is on SmartSite. To access it, go to and log in using your campus login and password. Then go to ECS 15 in your schedule. Handouts and other documents will be posted there. We will also post announcements there, too. If you do not have access to SmartSite, you can go to the alternate web site at You can download the handouts from that site, but you cannot look at your grades or submit homework there.


All work is due at 11:55PM on the date stated on the homework, unless otherwise stated. See the handout All About Lab Exercises and the Term Paper for more information.


Midterm: Thursday, February 10, in class
Final: Thursday, March 17, 10:30AM–12:30PM
These are closed book/closed notes exams. No early or late exam will be given; if you miss an exam for medical reasons (you must document this; 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!


Laboratory Exercises25%Midterm Exam20%
Term Paper30%Final Exam25%

The 30% for the term paper is distributed as follows:

Prospectus1%Progress Report2%
“Spew” Paper4%Completed Paper23%

Academic Integrity

The UC Davis Code of Academic Conduct, available at, applies to this class. In particular, for this course: A good analogy between appropriate discussion and inappropriate collaboration is the following: you and a fellow student work for competing software companies developing different products to meet a given specification. You and your competitor might choose to discuss product specifications and general techniques employed in your products, but you certainly would not discuss or exchange proprietary information revealing details of your products. Ask the instructor for clarification beforehand if the above rules are not clear.
ECS 15, Introduction to Computers
Winter Quarter 2011
You can also obtain a PDF version of this.
Version of January 6, 2011 at 2:01PM