Course Descriptions

COMP 101 Intro to Computers & Computing This half-unit course addresses three big questions in the field of computing: What is a computer (and how does it work)? How do we compare and analyze computational solutions? And finally, how do humans and computers interact, and what are the social and ethical issues that arise? This course introduces the field of computing without programming; it is generally taken in combination with COMP 102, 103, or 104 -- basic programming in JavaScript or Python -- for a full unit.
COMP 102 Programming Basics for JavaScript /Web Development This half-unit course introduces the general algorithmic (disciplined, step-by-step) approach to problem solving, and the basic concepts of computer programming in the context of developing dynamic web pages using JavaScript. This course is generally taken in combination with COMP 101 Introduction to Computers and Computing for a full unit. COMP 101 introduces the field of computing without programming; this course adds basic programming concepts to that.
COMP 103 Python Programming Basics in a Multimedia Context This half-unit course introduces the general algorithmic (disciplined, step-by-step) approach to problem solving, and the basic concepts of computer programming in the context of developing Python programs to create and manipulate pictures, sound, and animations. This course is generally taken in combination with COMP 101 Introduction to Computers and Computing for a full unit. COMP 101 introduces the field of computing without programming; this course adds basic programming concepts to that.
COMP 104 Python Programming Basics in a Scientific Computing Context This half-unit course introduces the general algorithmic (disciplined, step-by-step) approach to problem solving, and the basic concepts of computer programming in the context of developing Python programs for scientific modeling, visualization, and data analysis. This course is generally taken in combination with COMP 101 Introduction to Computers and Computing for a full unit. COMP 101 introduces the field of computing without programming; this course adds basic programming concepts to that.
COMP 105 Introduction to Computer Science with Lab Computers have had an impact on almost every aspect of modern life. Why is this? What has been their impact on other disciplines and on the society in which we live? What do we need to know about computing so that we control the technology rather than being controlled by it? This course will address these and other questions while giving hands-on practice in a particular context, such as creating animations or web applications. Topics include fundamental computer programming concepts and constructs, how computers represent information, limits to what is computable, human-machine interaction, and ethical and social issues raised by the widespread use of computers. Except in unusual circumstances, students who have already taken 107 or 108 should generally not take this course.
COMP 150 Object Oriented Programming An introduction to object-oriented programming. Topics include basic language features and the fundamentals of the programming process, including design, implementation, and testing. Hands-on programming is a central component of the course, embodied in weekly labs, in-class mini-labs, and frequent programming assignments. Some previous exposure to programming or strong math skills are recommended; see a faculty member if you have questions about taking this course. AP CS Principles, COMP 102, 103, 104, 105, 107, or 108, or one 200-level Math course, or 1 200-level Physics course, or instructor permission. All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-. COMP-150L Must be taken concurrently.
COMP 200 Professional Apprenticeship Students majoring in computer science may participate in apprenticeships, which are opportunities for the students to learn computer science concepts through professional internships. To be considered for a professional apprenticeship, a student must approach a faculty member with a proposal of the expected work and learning goals to be accomplished in the project or internship. A written reflection will be required at the end of the apprenticeship. A minimum of 10 hours of work per week is expected. Enrollment is by permission of instructor only. By Instructor Permission only
COMP 210 Data Structures Provides students an opportunity to further develop and refine their design, implementation, and testing skills. In particular, the emphasis of this course is on the organization of information, the implementation of common data structures such as lists, stacks, queues, trees, and graphs, and techniques of data abstraction, including encapsulation and inheritance. The course will also explore recursion and the close relationship between data structures and algorithms. Hands-on programming is a central component of this course, through numerous mini-labs and outside programming assignments. COMP-150 All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
COMP 215 Design and Analysis of Algorithms Introduction to a variety of algorithms and algorithm design techniques that recur in computer science literature and applications. These include common sorting and searching algorithms, divide-and-conquer and dynamic programming algorithms, and algorithms in the areas of string processing, geometry, and graph theory. This course also provides an introduction to the mathematical analysis of the complexity and performance of algorithms. COMP-101, COMP-210 and MATH-250 All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
COMP 265 Cognitive Science Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of mind and the nature of intelligence. It is a rapidly evolving field that deals with information processing, intelligent systems, complex cognition, and large-scale computation. The scientific discipline lies in the overlapping areas of neuroscience, psychology, computer science, linguistics and philosophy. Students will learn the basic physiological and psychological mechanisms and computational algorithms underlying different cognitive phenomena. This course is designed mostly for psychology and computer science students, but other students interested in interdisciplinary thinking might take the course. PSYC-101 or COMP-101 All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
COMP 305 Software Development This course focuses on software development methods and practices. Topics include traditional and agile software engineering approaches, common processes and tools, database concepts, user interface design, and professional standards and ethics. Students will analyze existing code, develop and refactor code, develop test cases, interact with a relational database, and work on large projects within a team. Must have taken COMP-210
COMP 315 Computer Organization Introduction to computer organization; gates, truth tables, and logic design; number representation and arithmetic; assembly-language programming and the assembly process; and current techniques for improving computer performance. COMP-101 and COMP-210 All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
COMP 320 Principles of Programming Languages Study of programming language concepts and paradigms. Students will look at the historical progression of language design, study the distinctive characteristics of major programming paradigms, discuss design decisions and tradeoffs, and develop fluency in a new language. Typical topics include syntactic and semantic differences among languages, type theory, static and dynamic binding of variables, and scope rules. This course is offered annually. COMP-210 All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
COMP 395 Ranking As a Social Game Ranking of people, schools, products, countries and just about everything else is part of our daily life. We like to compare ourselves to others and see who is stronger, richer, better, cleverer. Our love for comparison led to our fad to make rankings. Ranking is about becoming more organized and we like the idea of being more organized! We are in a paradoxical relationship with ranking: ''ranking is good because it is informative and objective; ranking is bad because it is biased and subjective, and occasionally, even manipulated." The cognitive science and social psychology of ranking will be discussed. Take COMP-210 or PSYC-301;
COMP 400 Automata, Formal Languages, and Computability Study of automata as mathematical models of computation; of formal languages, which play a central role in the specification and translation of programming languages; and of the fundamental capabilities and limitations of computers. This course is offered in the spring of odd-numbered years. MATH-250 or MATH-330, and one unit of computer science. All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
COMP 415 Computational Neuroscience Study of mathematical models, computational algorithms, and simulation methods that contribute to our understanding of neural mechanisms. Brief introduction to neurobiological concepts and mathematical techniques. Both normal and pathological behaviors will be analyzed by using neural models. PSYC-101 and MATH-113 All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
COMP 480 Special Topics Special Topics offerings focus upon topics not addressed in the department's regular offerings. Check the course schedule to see when Special Topics courses are being offered. Usually COMP-210, although specific prerequisites depend on the topic. All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
COMP 481 Parallel Computing This course explores parallel algorithms and their applications, particularly how to choose the appropriate parallel programming paradigm, as well as how to parallelize a given problem. Emphasizing shared and distributed memory models of parallel programming, this course will include theoretical and programming aspects in which students will be able to learn how to measure efficiency in parallel algorithms, as well as time complexity, speedups, the cost of communication, data and task parallelism, synchronization, and how to prepare a personal computer for parallel programming. COMP-215
COMP 482 Cybersecruity This special topics course will focus on topics related to cybersecurity. # Take MATH-250 or MATH-330; Minimum grade C-; # Take COMP-210; Minimum grade C-;
COMP 483 Cryptography This course provides a mathematics-based introduction to cryptography. Students will study the algorithms and security of various symmetric-key and public-key cryptosystems, and will write programs to implement several different cryptographic algorithms. Students will also gain some awareness of the social, ethical, and political issues related to cryptography. COMP-104, COMP-105, or COMP-150 and MATH-250 or MATH-316 or MATH-330. All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
COMP 484 Computing for Environment and Social Justice In this class we will use concepts and techniques from computer science to address and understand problems in environmental science. We will explore the application of computational intelligence to environmental data, current solutions to create, collect, store, process, model, and distribute data and information, as well as the environmental impacts of computers. Must have taken COMP-210 with a C- or better.
COMP 485 History & Future of Computing This course will discuss the history and future of computing. COMP-210 with a minimum grade of C-
COMP 485 Networking & Distributed Systems This course provides an overview of computer networking principles, protocols, and architecture. Students will learn about the Internet, the technologies used to configure local and wide area networks, operating system concepts focusing on network usage and resource sharing, and the ethics and responsibilities of secure networks, focusing on confidentiality, integrity, and authentication. Must have taken COMP-230 with a minimum grade of C-
COMP 486 Machine Learning An introductory undergraduate course in machine learning. The class will briefly cover topics in regression, classification, mixture models, neural networks, and ensemble methods. This course uses concrete examples, minimal theory, and production-ready Python frameworks to help you gain an intuitive understanding of the concepts and tools for building intelligent systems. Must have taken COMP-101, COMP-105, COMP-107, or COMP-108, and COMP-210 and MATH-112. All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
COMP 487 Web Development This special topics course will focus on web development technologies and practices. Topics will include languages and patterns used in web development, interacting with databases, and developing greater awareness of, and sensitivity to, customer and end-user needs. Students will also develop or deepen their understanding of general software development topics, such as developing and refactoring code, developing test cases, working within a team, and managing large projects, as well as further their understanding of their professional responsibilities as software developers, becoming familiar with the ACM Code of Ethics. This course will have both conceptual and hands-on components. Students will research and present various topics, install and work with real-world projects, and document and reflect on their learning and their software development progress throughout the course. Usually COMP-210, although specific prerequisites depend on the topic. All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
COMP 488 Topics: Advanced Software Development This course will focus on software development philosophies and practices. Topics will include traditional and agile software engineering approaches, open source software development, common processes and tools, and the use of modern AI in software development. Students will deepen their skills, including analyzing existing code, developing and refactoring code, developing test cases, interacting with a relational database, working within a team, and managing large projects. Students will also further their understanding of their professional responsibilities as software developers, and become familiar with the ACM Code of Ethics. Must have previously taken COMP-230
COMP 489 Mobile Computing This special topics course will allow students to explore issues in designing and writing mobile applications. Topics will include the software development process, memory management, user interface design, user interface building, input methods, data handling, connecting to databases, app development (for iOS and Android), and possibly other specifics such as GPS and motion sensing, and security issues related to mobile device software. This course will have both conceptual and hands-on components. Students will research and present various topics, install and work with real-world projects, and document and reflect on their learning and their software development progress throughout the course. COMP-210 and junior or senior standing
COMP 490 Cs Senior Seminar Mobile Computing Each year the Computer Science department offers a senior seminar focusing on team-based software development within a specific context (e.g., mobile, web, or open source software development). The context varies from year to year. In addition to collaborating on a specific project, students present material on a wide range of software development topics, including software engineering methodologies, professional ethics, and current trends in languages and software development tools. As a senior seminar, the course has a strong problem-solving focus, encourages student participation and leadership, develops their communication skills, and stresses integration of the student's full undergraduate experience. COMP-210 and senior standing
COMP 490 Sr Sem: Computing for Environment And Social Justice In this course students will apply concepts and techniques from computer science to address and understand problems in environmental science. We will explore the application of computational intelligence to environmental data, current solutions to create, collect, store, process, model, and distribute data and information, as well as the environmental impacts of computers. Must have taken COMP-210 with a C- or better.
COMP 490 SR Sem: Advanced Software Development This course will focus on software development philosophies and practices. Topics will include traditional and agile software engineering approaches, open source software development, common processes and tools, and the use of modern AI in software development. Students will deepen their skills, including analyzing existing code, developing and refactoring code, developing test cases, interacting with a relational database, working within a team, and managing large projects. Students will also further their understanding of their professional responsibilities as software developers, and become familiar with the ACM Code of Ethics. Must have previously taken COMP-210
COMP 593 Senior Integrated Project Each program or department sets its own requirements for Senior Integrated Projects done in that department, including the range of acceptable projects, the required background of students doing projects, the format of the SIP, and the expected scope and depth of projects. See the Kalamazoo Curriculum -> Senior Integrated Project section of the Academic Catalog for more details. Permission of department and SIP supervisor required.
COMP 600 Teaching Assistantship