Computer Science

The Computer Science Major

Computer science is the system of principles and theory which deals with what computers do. It studies the nature of computation. For any given problem, it asks whether the answer can be computed, and, if so, what are the most efficient and practical ways to do the computation. (Often the methods that are best for machines are quite different from those that are practical for human beings.)

Computers are machines that manipulate abstract symbols according to specified rules. Therefore, computer science relies heavily on abstract reasoning and mathematics. The mathematics involved is usually quite different, however, from traditional mathematics. Much of it has been developed recently in response to the development of computers.

As an academic discipline within the liberal arts tradition, computer science has ties with many other disciplines. The natural sciences provide the physical principles upon which computers are built. Computer science serves the sciences, engineering, and business in providing the means to perform complex calculations and to analyze large amounts of data. Psychology and philosophy share with computer science the desire to understand the nature of reason, language, and intelligence.

The most important skills needed by a prospective computer scientist are an excellent command of one’s native language and the ability to think in a mathematical way.

Major Requirements

Lower-Division preparation for the major

Lower-Division preparation for the major:
COMP 150Computer Programming I3
COMP 151Computer Programming II3
COMP 280Introduction to Computer Systems3.5
COMP 285Data Structures & Algorithms3
MATH 150Calculus I4
MATH 151Calculus II4
MATH 160Logic for Mathematics and Computer Science3

Note: MATH 160 satisfies the core curriculum logic competency requirement. Students majoring in computer science should take this course instead of PHIL 101 or PHIL 102.

Upper Division

Required Courses
COMP 300Principles of Digital Hardware4
COMP 305Object-Oriented Design and Programming3
COMP 310Operating Systems3.5
COMP 370Automata, Computability and Formal Languages3
COMP 465WSoftware Engineering3
COMP 495Senior Project2
Elective Courses
Select nine upper division units from the following:9
Numerical Analysis
Database Management Systems Design
Computer Graphics
Digital Modeling and Simulation
Principles of Programming Languages
Networking
Neural Networks
Algorithms
Special Topics
Independent Study

At least 15 of the upper-division units in the major must be completed at USD.

It is highly recommended that computer science majors pursue a minor in a related field such as mathematics, physics, or business administration.

It is also recommended that computer science majors take one or more of the courses MATH 320, MATH 350, and MATH 355, for additional background in mathematics.

Recommended Program of Study: Computer Science 

First Year
Semester IHours
COMP 150Computer Programming I3
MATH 150Calculus I4
CC9
Semester II
COMP 151Computer Programming II3
MATH 151Calculus II4
CC9
Sophomore Year
Semester I
COMP 305Object-Oriented Design and Programming3
MATH 160Logic for Mathematics and Computer Science3
CC9-12
Semester II
COMP 285Data Structures & Algorithms3
CC12-15
Junior Year
Semester I
COMP 280Introduction to Computer Systems3.5
Upper-Division COMP Elective3
CC and electives9-12
Semester II
COMP 300Principles of Digital Hardware4
Upper-Division COMP Elective3
CC and electives9-12
Senior Year
Semester I
COMP 310Operating Systems3.5
COMP 465WSoftware Engineering3
Upper-Division COMP Elective3
CC and electives6-9
Semester II
COMP 370Automata, Computability and Formal Languages3
COMP 495Senior Project2
CC and electives9-12

The Minors

Students wishing to major in another field while also developing competency in the use of computers are encouraged to choose one of the minors described below.

The Minor in Computer Science

The computer science minor is intended for students who have a general interest in the workings and uses of computers. Minimum requirements for the minor in computer science are:

COMP 150Computer Programming I3
COMP 151Computer Programming II3
12 additional units 112
1

At least 9 of which are in upper division courses, excluding COMP 498. One course at most from ELEC 310ELEC 340ELEC 410, and ELEC 450 can count toward these 12 units. COMP 300 and ELEC 310 cannot both apply toward the 12 units.

Note: Neither COMP 100 nor COMP 498 may be applied toward the requirements for the minor in computer science.

The Minor in Information Science

The information science minor is intended for students who have a special interest in the analysis, design, implementation, and use of computer-based information systems and organizations. Minimum requirements for the minor in information science are:

COMP 150Computer Programming I3
COMP 151Computer Programming II3
COMP 285Data Structures & Algorithms3
ITMG 350Management Information Systems3
Nine additional units 19
1

At least 6 of which are in upper division courses chosen from:

  1. the computer science offerings listed in this course catalog, excluding COMP 100 and COMP 498. COMP 345 is highly recommended.
  2. ITMG 350 Management Information Systems

Lower-Division Courses (COMP)

COMP 100 | INTRODUCTORY COMPUTER PROGRAMMING

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

An elementary introduction to computer programming and applications for non-majors and non-minors. Computer organization; problem solving; algorithms; structured programming in a simple computer language; computer applications; and current issues and trends in computer science. This course does not satisfy any of the requirements for the computer science major or minor and is not a substitute for COMP 150.

COMP 150 | COMPUTER PROGRAMMING I

Units: 3

Prerequisites: MATH 115 or Passing the appropriate departmental placement test within the previous year or MATH 130 or MATH 150

Algorithms and programming in a selected computer language; expressions, statements, basic data types; sequence, decision, iteration; functions and procedures; arrays; recursion; file input and output; loop invariants; syntax analysis; and program design, documentation, validation, and debugging. Prereq: MATH 115 with a minimum grade of C-, or pass Level 2 mathematics placement exam. COMP 100 is not a prerequisite.

COMP 151 | COMPUTER PROGRAMMING II

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: COMP 150

Continuation of COMP 150. Basic data structures, including lists, stacks, queues, and binary trees; abstract data types; sorting and searching algorithms; exception handling; event driven programming;.

COMP 160 | PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES

Units: 1-3 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Prerequisites: COMP 150

Introduction to a particular high-level programming language such as C, C++, Python, Ruby, MATLAB, and Maple. Programming assignments appropriate to the language studied. Prereq: COMP 150 with a grade of C- or better. This course does not satisfy any of the requirements for the major in computer science.

COMP 280 | INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER SYSTEMS

Units: 3.5 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: COMP 151

Introduction to computer systems; data representation; machine/assembly languages; memory organization; virtual memory; and concurrency. Prerequisites COMP 151.

COMP 285 | DATA STRUCTURES & ALGORITHMS

Units: 3

Prerequisites: (COMP 151 and MATH 160)

Data structures, algorithm analysis and general programming design and applications; balanced trees, hashing, priority queues, sets, and graphs; more on sorting and searching; Prereq: COMP 151 with a grade of C- or better and MATH 160 with a grade of C- or better.

Upper-Division Courses (COMP)

COMP 300 | PRINCIPLES OF DIGITAL HARDWARE

Units: 4 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: MATH 160 and COMP 280

Combinational and sequential logic, registers, arithmetic units. Introduction to computer architecture. Three lectures and one laboratory per week.

COMP 305 | OBJECT-ORIENTED DESIGN AND PROGRAMMING

Units: 3

Prerequisites: COMP 285

Classes, encapsulation, inheritance, polymorphism, class derivation, abstract classes, namespaces, function overloading and overriding, function name overload resolution, container classes, template classes; unified modeling language (UML); constructing conceptual models, system sequence diagrams; design patterns; case studies. Prereq: COMP 285 with a grade of C- or better.

COMP 310 | OPERATING SYSTEMS

Units: 3.5-4 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: COMP 280

Principles of computer operating systems; process management; memory management; file systems; protection; deadlock. Concurrent programming.

COMP 340 | NUMERICAL ANALYSIS

Units: 3

Prerequisites: MATH 151 and COMP 150

Approximate computations and round-off errors; Taylor expansions; numerical solution of equations and systems of equations; systems of linear equations; numerical integration; numerical solution of differential equations; interpolation; and problem solving on the computer. Prereq: COMP 150 with a grade of C- or better and MATH 151 with a grade of C- or better. Cross-listed as MATH 340.

COMP 341 | NUMERICAL ANALYSIS II

Units: 3

Prerequisites: MATH 250 and MATH 320 and MATH 330 (Can be taken Concurrently) and COMP 340

Estimation of eigenvalues and eigenvectors of matrices; numerical solutions of differential equations, existence, and stability theory; and computer lab assignments. Prereq: MATH 250, 320, 330 (may be taken concurrently), and COMP 340, all with a grade of C- or better. Cross-listed as MATH 341.

COMP 345 | DATABASE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS DESIGN

Units: 3

Prerequisites: COMP 285

Introduction to database concepts; data models; query facilities; and file organization and security. Prereq: COMP 285 with a grade of C- or better.

COMP 350 | COMPUTER GRAPHICS

Units: 3

Prerequisites: MATH 151 and COMP 285

The development of high-level, device-independent graphics routines; basic line drawing algorithms, text design, and other graphics primitives; 2-D representations of coordinate systems, image segmentation, and windowing. Prereq: COMP 285 with a grade of C- or better and MATH 151 with a grade of C- or better.

COMP 355 | DIGITAL MODELING AND SIMULATION

Units: 3

Prerequisites: MATH 151 and COMP 305

Mathematical modeling; probabilistic and deterministic simulations; pseudo-random number generators; event generators; queuing theory; game theory; and continuous models involving ordinary and partial differential equations. Prereq: COMP 305 with a grade of C- or better and MATH 151 with a grade of C- or better.

COMP 360 | PRINCIPLES OF PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES

Units: 3-4

Prerequisites: COMP 285

The organization of programming languages with emphasis on language semantics; language definition, data types, and control structures of various languages. Prereq: COMP 285 with a grade of C- or better; COMP 280 is recommended.

COMP 370 | AUTOMATA, COMPUTABILITY AND FORMAL LANGUAGES

Units: 3

Prerequisites: COMP 285

Finite state machines; formal grammars; computability and Turing machines. Prereq: COMP 285 with a grade of C- or better, or upper division mathematics course.

COMP 375 | NETWORKING

Units: 3

Prerequisites: COMP 151

Introduction to the design and implementation of computer and communication networks. The focus is on the concepts and the fundamental design principles that have contributed to the global Internet’s success. Topics covered will include MAC layer design (Ethernet/802.11), the TCP/IP protocol stack, routing algorithms, congestion control and reliability, and applications (HTTP, FTP, etc.) and advanced topics such as peer-to-peer networks and network simulation tools. Recent trends in networking such as multimedia networking, mobile/cellular networks and sensor networks will also be discussed. Prereq: COMP 151 with a grade of C- or better.

COMP 380 | NEURAL NETWORKS

Units: 3

Prerequisites: COMP 285 and MATH 151

A study of the fundamental concepts, architectures, learning algorithms and applications of various artificial neural networks, including perceptron, Kohonen self organizing maps, learning vector quantization, backpropagation, and radial basis functions. Prereq: COMP 285 with a grade of C- or better and MATH 151 with a grade of C- or better.

COMP 465W | SOFTWARE ENGINEERING

Units: 3

Prerequisites: COMP 305

Theoretical and practical aspects of software development; project planning; requirements and specification; general and detailed design; implementation; validation and verification; formal documentation. Students will participate in developing documentation for a large software project. Prereq: COMP 305 with a grade of C- or better.

COMP 480 | ALGORITHMS

Units: 3

Prerequisites: MATH 151 and COMP 285

Advanced theory of algorithms. Topics may include: algorithm analysis; algorithm design techniques; and computational complexity. Prereq: COMP 285 with a grade of C- or better and MATH 151 with a grade of C- or better.

COMP 494 | SPECIAL TOPICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Prerequisites: COMP 305

Topics of special interest chosen by the instructor. Prereq: COMP 305 with a grade of C- or better and consent of the instructor. COMP 494 may be repeated for credit with a different topic.

COMP 495 | SENIOR PROJECT

Units: 2

Prerequisites: COMP 465W

The course involves participation in a capstone senior project of substantial interest to computer scientists. Emphasis is on the design and implementation of computer systems for real-world problems. A final written report and oral presentation in the presence of other students and faculty are required. Prereq: COMP 465W with a grade of C- or better and senior standing.

COMP 498 | INTERNSHIP

Units: 1-3 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Practical experience in the application of the principles of computer science. Students will be involved in a software or hardware project. Enrollment is arranged on an individual basis according to the student’s interest, background, and the availability of positions. A written report is required. Units may not normally be applied toward the major or minor in computer science. COMP 498 may be repeated for a total of three units.

COMP 499 | INDEPENDENT STUDY

Units: 1-3 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Prerequisites: COMP 151

Individual study including library or laboratory research or program writing. A written report is required. Prereq: COMP 151 and consent of instructor. COMP 499 may be repeated for a total of three units.

Chair

John Glick, PhD

Faculty

Saturnino Garcia, PhD

John Glick, PhD

Mark Heckman, PhD

Eric Jiang, PhD