In choosing to study computer science you have chosen a career in an exciting and rapidly changing discipline. As a computer scientist, you may become involved in many of the great changes in the future, for the computer will play a central role in these changes.

It is important, therefore, that you not only develop the practical and theoretical skills of a professional computer scientist but that you also try to obtain an understanding of the impact of computers on society. For that reason we would strongly encourage you to select your elective courses outside Computer Science in areas where you will broaden your knowledge of society. One way to do this is to select isolated courses that catch your interest; however, a more productive approach is to consider taking a concentration of courses in an area outside of Computer Science.

So in planning your course selection you should be thinking ahead and asking yourself not only which courses will give you a good Computer Science degree, but which courses will make you a good professional computer scientist. That implies a sound technical background, a broad education, professional ethics and a social conscience. You can't get all that in your first year but you can at least make a start.

Lastly we would like to remind you that computer science is an art as well as a science which means you cannot learn it entirely from a book - you must also practice it! That means long hours at the computer terminals. So be warned, do not try to take on too much. We recommend a maximum of three computer science courses per term.

The Department

Office Hours

Administrative Office -- Monday to Friday: 10-1, 2-4, 126 CCB
Undergraduate Programme Office -- Monday to Friday: 9-12:30, 1:30-3, 125 CCB

Mailing Address

Department of Computer Science
126 CCB
York University
4700 Keele Street
North York, Ontario, M3J 1P3
Tel.: (416) 736-5053
Fax: (416) 736-5872

P. Dymond

Director of Undergraduate Studies
P. Cribb (416) 736-5334

M. Aboelaze 344 CCB
J. Amanatides 254 CCB
E. Arjomandi 222 CCB
T. Brecht 220 CCB
P. Cribb 150 CCB
X. Deng 354 CCB
P. Dymond 126 CCB
D. Forster 218 CCB
G. Gotshalks 216 CCB
N. Graham 250 CCB
M. Jenkin 258 CCB
D. L. Lee 348 CCB
J. Liu 224 CCB
E. Milios 256 CCB
A. Mirzaian 125 CCB
J. Ostroff 248 CCB
T. Papadakis 358 CCB
P. H. Roosen-Runge 152 CCB
M. Spetsakis 252 CCB
Z. Stachniak 214 CCB
A. Wallis 134 CCB
R. M. Wharton 136 CCB
J. Xu 346 CCB

Adjunct Faculty
H. Levesque 342 CCB

J. Hofbauer H. Roumani
R. Jhu A. Smith
L. Lowther G. Turpin
M. Mosher

Technical Support
C. Phillips (Computer Systems Administrator)
D. Gamble
D. Laws
U. Yigit

Administrative Support
M. Baptist (Secretary)
C. Masaro (Administrative Assistant)
N. Niven (Undergraduate Programme Assistant)
P. Plummer (Graduate Programme Assistant)

Important Messages

New Programme Requirements

In an on going process the Department of Computer Science has introduced new programme requirements. The new requirements for all students are aimed at bringing their mathematical knowledge and ability closer to the level required in all areas of computer science. In BSc programmes the new requirements enable students to have concentrations (like having a minor programme) in another area of science. The Department believes that such concentrations enable students to make more use of their computer science knowledge, thereby providing a more rewarding educational experience and enhancing career opportunities. The new requirements are described in detail later in this calendar.

Students who begin their degree programmes in or after FW94/95 must meet these new requirements. There are degree programme checklists at the back of the calendar to assist students in understanding what requirements they have completed and what they have yet to do.

Students who began their degree programmes before FW94/95 may choose to proceed under either the old or new requirements, a partial change is not permitted. If a student chooses to follow the old requirements, they must successfully complete consecutive years of study leading to their graduation. If they interrupt their studies, then they must follow the new requirements to complete their degree.


Academic advising is available on an individual or a group basis in the Department of Computer Science. Group advising provides help in choosing courses so as to fulfil degree requirements. Individual faculty advising is available to discuss academic issues relevant to computer science such as recommended mathematical skills, theoretical versus applications oriented courses, areas of specialization, graduate studies and career paths.

It is ultimately the responsibility of each student to ensure that they meet all degree requirements of both the Department, and the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science or the Faculty of Arts Written information and programme check lists are provided to assist you in making appropriate choices. It is recommended that you take advantage of advising opportunities to answer any questions you may have.

Group advising will be scheduled by year level during March and early April. In addition, individual advising appointments may be made through the Undergraduate Office.

Students in the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science are required to have their study list signed by an adviser. Those who do not wish to have an advising appointment may leave their study list at the Undergraduate Office to be signed. You will not be able to use the Voice Response Enrollment System without first having your study list signed.

Students in the Faculty of Arts are not required to have their study list signed.

Academic Honesty

The Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Pure and Applied Science and the Department have policies on academic honesty and their enforcement is taken very seriously. Academic honesty is essentially giving credit where credit is due. When a piece of work is submitted by a student it is expected that all unquoted and uncited ideas (except for common knowledge) and text are original to the student. Uncited and unquoted text, diagrams, etc., which are not original to the student, and which the student presents as their own work is considered academically dishonest. For example, the deliberate presentation of part of another student's program text or other work as your own without acknowledgment is academically dishonest, and renders you liable to the disciplinary procedures instituted by the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science for cases of plagiarism. The ultimate penalty is expulsion from the University.

The above statement does not imply that students must work, study and learn in isolation. The Department encourages students to work, study and learn together, and to use the work of others as found in books, journal articles, electronic news, private conversations, etc.. In fact, most pieces of work are enhanced when relevant outside material is introduced. Thus faculty members expect to see quotes, references and citations to the work of others. This shows the student is seeking out knowledge, integrating it with their own work, and perhaps more significantly, reducing some of the drudgery in producing a piece of work.

As long as appropriate citation and notice is given students cannot be accused of academic dishonesty.

A piece of work, however, may receive a low grade because it does not contain a sufficient amount of original work. In each course, instructors describe their expectations regarding cooperative work and define the boundary of what is acceptable cooperation and what is unacceptable. When in doubt it is the student's responsibility to seek clarification from the instructor. Instructors evaluate each piece of work in the context of their course and given instructions.

You should refer to the appropriate sections of the York University Undergraduate Calendar for further information and the penalties when academic dishonesty occurs.

Concerns about Fairness

The Department's faculty members are committed to treating all students fairly, professionally, and without discrimination on nonacademic grounds including a student's race or sex. Students who have concerns about fair treatment are encouraged to discuss the matter with their instructor or the course director. If this is not possible or does not resolve the problem, the matter should be brought to the attention of the Undergraduate Director, and if necessary, the Department Chair, for a departmental response.

York University Computer Club

The York University Computer Club (YUCC) is an organization of students in the Department of Computer Science. They nominate students to serve on department committees, sponsor informational and social events and facilitate communications among computer science students and faculty members. They can be reached by electronic mail at

Programmes Offered

For detailed information you are advised to first read the appropriate sections of the York University Undergraduate Calendar very carefully; secondly, read this supplemental Calendar, and thirdly, see an advisor in the Department of Computer Science at one of the regularly scheduled advising sessions.

Computer Science is available as a major programme leading to either a three year (Ordinary) or four year (Honours) degree in either Arts (B.A.) or Pure and Applied Science (B.Sc.). It may also be combined with all subjects in both Arts and Science leading to a four-year combined honours degree (B.Sc.) or double major degree (B.A.). Further, a combined Business and Computer Science degree is available from the Faculty of Administrative Studies.

The recommended courses in computer science and mathematics are identical in most programmes in the first two years of study so that students can make their final decisions as to which programme to graduate in after they have more exposure to the discipline.

Ordinary vs. Honours

An ordinary programme consists of three years of study requiring a grade point average of 4.0 in computer science courses. An honours programme consists of four years of study requiring more specialization, a higher minimum performance (a grade point average of 5.0), and in some cases different courses than an ordinary degree.

Both Arts and Science programmes are structured in such a way that a student who embarks on an honours programme can meet the requirements for an ordinary degree by the end of the third year and can at that time graduate with either a B.A. or B.Sc.

If you have the grade point average to be eligible for an honours programme (5.0), you will be listed as an honours student for administrative purposes.

Specialized Honours

Students selecting this programme take even more courses in computer science and mathematics than for an honours programme during their four years of study.

Space and Communication Sciences Stream

This is a specialized honours programme in computer science combined with a concentration of courses in the Departments of Earth and Atmospheric Science, and Physics and Astronomy. Students select courses on knowledge-based programming, numerical methods, data communications, electronics, space communications and physics of the space environment. Fourth year features electives from an extensive list of topics from all three departments.

Entry is highly competitive as the first year is limited to approximately 40 places. Candidates are required to have an A average in high school. It is also a very demanding programme as students must maintain a grade point average of 6.0.

Combined Honours/Double Major

The intention of a combined honours programme is for students to major in two subjects while maintaining a 5.0 average. In general, students complete enough course work in each subject to obtain the equivalent of an honours degree. Combined honours degrees may require students to take more than the minimum number of twenty courses to satisfy the honours requirements of each subject.

In the Faculty of Arts a combined programme consists of either a double major or a major and a minor. In the latter case computer science can be either the major or the minor subject.

Consult advisors in both departments if you are planning a combined honours programme.

Honours Double Major Programme in Computer Science and Mass Communications Studies

This double major programme differs from a standard double major programme in that your second major is in an interdisciplinary programme. In this double major programme, you are required to complete at least 6 Computer Science courses, two of which must be at the 4000 level. You are also required to complete 6 courses in Mass Communications Studies, one of which must be at the 4000 level.

Honours Double Major Programme in Computer Science and Women's Studies

The requirements of this programme are similar to those stated for the double major in mass communications studies except the second major is in a different interdisciplinary programme.

The Service Programme

The Department also offers a variety of courses at the 1000- and 3000- level which are of interest to students wanting to learn about computers and computer use without majoring in Computer Science. In some cases, degree programmes offered by other departments may require these courses in their programmes.

The starting courses for non-majors are COSC1520.03, Introduction to Computer Use I and COSC1540.03, Computer Use for the Natural Sciences. The course COSC1530.03, Introduction to Computer Use II is a follow-up course to COSC1520.03. Students taking these courses are not eligible to take the 2000-level Computer Science courses without successful completion of COSC1020.03 and COSC1030.03.

Computer Facilities

Undergraduate students work on Ariel, the Department of Computer Science computer network. Ariel consists of about 30 Sun SS10 and SGI Indigo workstations for third and fourth-year use and about 50 X terminals connected to Sun compute servers for first and second year use. A robotics lab consisting of a robot arm and mobile platform is in place along with cameras and digitizers for computer vision. A digital logic lab is used to provide hands-on experience in computer design. A real-time laboratory and a graphics laboratory are available for fourth year students and multimedia laboratory is planned for the fall of 1994.

Graduate students have access to several Sun SS10 compute and file servers along with a variety of Sun workstations and X terminals. As well, there is a Vision-Graphics-Robotics lab which includes several SGI workstations and computer vision hardware. Facilities for single-frame animation video recordings are available. During the summer, undergraduate students are often employed in these labs.

The department's research is primarily supported by several Sun SS10 compute and file servers, all running Unix and X window system. In addition, the department's researchers make use of a variety of Sun, SGI, Sony and Apple workstations and PCs.

A large variety of software runs on these machines, including compilers and interpreters for many languages, expert system shells, hypertext systems, object oriented environments, logic programming systems and graphics software.

Almost all workstations and micro-computers are connected to the campus networking backbone, giving access to all significant systems in the University, as well as computers in universities all over the world through Internet.

Access to the timesharing systems and workstations requires an authorized account and a password, as issued by the Department. Each student receives a single account for each machine necessary for course work. Students who would like to work on a project outside of assigned class work may ask a faculty member to act as their supervisor; if necessary, a special account can be arranged for that project.

Computer Use Policy

Working in a laboratory situation requires cooperative behaviour which does not harm other students by making any part of the department's computer systems unusable such as locking out terminals, running processes which require lots of network traffic (such as playing games on multiple terminals), using the facilities to work on tasks which are not related to computer science course work. Essentially, all users of common facilities need to ask themselves whether or not their behaviour adversely affects other users of the facility and to refrain from engaging in "adverse behaviour". Good manners, moderation and consideration for others are expected from all users. Adverse behaviour includes such things as excessive noise, occupying more space than appropriate, harassment of others, creating a hostile environment and the displaying of graphics of questionable taste. Lab monitors are authorized to ensure that no discomfort is caused by such practices to any user.

The department policy on computer use prohibits breaking into someone else's account, causing damage by invading the system or abusing equipment, using electronic mail or file transfer of abusive or offensive materials, or otherwise violating system security or usage guidelines. As well, we expect you to follow the A Guide to Academic Computing Behavior put out by the Senate Committee on Academic Computing (/cs/doc/yorkPolicy).

In the event that you violate the above guidelines, the department computer system coordinator, in conjunction with the department and York Computing Services, will decide on the appropriate penalty. The penalty could require monetary restitution and could lead to your loss of access to computer services. This could result in your being unable to complete computer science courses, and a change in your major.

Adverse behaviour may also violate university and provincial legal regulations; for example duplication of copyrighted material and theft of computer services are both criminal offenses. In such cases the University, Provincial or Federal authorities may act independently of the Department. The police may be asked to investigate and perpetrators may be liable for civil and/or criminal prosecution. The Department of Computer Science does not assume any liability for damages caused by such activities.

Computer Science Awards

Unless otherwise stipulated students in both the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science and the Faculty of Arts are eligible for these awards.

Digital Equipment of Canada Ltd. Annual Award

This award which consists of a medal and a cash award of $250 will be given to one graduating student each year who has consistently shown excellence throughout his/her degree programme.

Mark A. Levy Computer Science Award

Up to five prizes or books concerned with Computer Science will be awarded to outstanding Faculty of Pure and Applied Science students enrolled in third or fourth year computer science courses.

Nancy Waisbord Memorial Award

This is a cash award of $150 to be presented annually to a graduating student who has consistently demonstrated excellence in Computer Science.

Other Awards

Students in the Department may also apply for Summer NSERC awards and targeted Summer NSERC awards. These awards pay students a salary over the summer while they are working on a research project under the supervision of a faculty member. Normally students who have completed at least their 2nd year may apply and typically a grade average of B+ is required. The targeted awards are designed to attract under represented groups, primarily women, into scientific careers.

In addition, faculty sometimes employ undergraduate research assistants over the summer period. While not an award administered by NSERC, such positions are only offered to the best students in the Department.

Prestigious Awards

The Faculties of Arts and Pure and Applied Science also award various medals to their top graduating students. These include the Governor General's Silver Medal (Faculty of Arts) and the Gold Medal of Academic Excellence (Faculty of Pure and Applied Science).

Industrial Internship Programme

The Industrial Internship Programme allows students to take a year off from their studies to gain valuable job experience and earn money while completing their degree. Students resume their studies when the internship term finishes. (A student's file becomes inactive during their internship; students must arrange to have their file reactivated in the spring of the year in which they will return.) Job assignments can be from 8 to 16 months depending on the corporation. Participating corporations include IBM and BNR/Northern Telecom.

Any 2nd or 3rd year student with a B average (or better) in MATH and COSC courses may apply to this programme. Qualifications may also depend on specific job postings. Job opportunities are posted in the fall, and students apply by submitting a completed application form, a nonrefundable fee, their resume (or ACCIS form), and York transcripts to the Administrative Office by mid-November. The Department forwards the student's application to companies which the student has selected. The companies select from these applications the students they wish to interview, and the Department then arranges on-campus interviews. Job offers are typically extended in the February/March time frame for positions starting in May.

In cases where the internship project involves significant learning of an academic nature students may receive credit for work done in connection with the internship by enrolling in the project course, COSC4080.03. The same rules apply for such internship projects as for the usual COSC4080.03 projects except that the work is not done at York and is not done in a single academic term.

Students who are interested in doing a project as part of their internship should contact the course director of COSC4080.03 when they have enough experience on the job to be able to suggest a project topic which is compatible with the work they are asked to do, and has significant academic content. The course director of COSC4080.03 will make an initial assessment of the project's academic merit and will help in finding an appropriate faculty member to supervise. Within the first month after beginning the project, a contract outlining the academic nature of the project and the work to be accomplished should be agreed upon by the student and supervisor. The student may withdraw from the arrangement for receiving credit at any point up until a deadline approximately three quarters of the way through the internship (the exact date to be agreed upon by supervisor and student and stated in the contract.)

Assessment may include progress reports every three to four months, with feedback from the supervisor, and a final written report describing the work accomplished. The basis for the grade assigned for the project should be clearly set out in advance in the project contract. The student will also be encouraged to give an oral presentation.

It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the employer is willing to have the student report on her/his work in written and oral presentations. Work which cannot be generally disclosed is not suitable for a COSC4080.03 project.

Appeal Procedures

The Department expects a student's disagreement with an evaluation of an item of course work (assignment report, class test, non-final examination, oral presentation, laboratory presentation, class participation) to be settled with the instructor informally, amicably and expeditiously.

With respect to a formal appeal, there are different procedures for course work and for final examinations and final grades. Of necessity, a formal appeal must involve only written work.

Course Work

An appeal against a grade assigned to an item of course work must be made within 14 days of the grade being made available.

In the case of a multi-sectioned course (where the instructor is not the course director), a second appeal may be made to the course director within 14 days of the decision of the instructor.

If a student feels that their work has not been fairly reappraised by the course director, then they may appeal for a reappraisal by the departmental petitions committee. The request is made in writing on a standard departmental form obtained from the Undergraduate Office. The request must be made within 14 days of the decision of the course director.

Final Exams and Final Grades

An appeal for reappraisal of a final grade must be made in writing on a standard departmental form, obtained from the Undergraduate Office, within 21 days of receiving notification of the grade.

The departmental petitions committee will discuss the appeal with the course director to ensure that no grade computation, clerical or similar errors have been made. If such an error is discovered, a correction will be made and the student and the Registrar's Office will be notified.

If a final examination is to be reappraised then the departmental petitions committee will select a second reader for the examination paper. The petitions committee will consider the report of the second reader and recommend a final grade, which may be lower than the original grade. The student will receive the report of the Petitions Committee and the Registrar's Office will be informed of any grade change. The decision of the department petitions committee can only be appealed on procedural grounds to the Executive Committee of the Faculty.

Grading System

Grading at York University is done on a letter scale. The following table shows the grading scale used. The number in parenthesis is the grade point which is used to determine the grade point average. The grade point average is a credit weighted average of all relevant courses.

A+ (9) Exceptional

Thorough knowledge of concepts and/or techniques and exceptional skill or great originality in the use of those concepts and techniques in satisfying the requirements of a piece of work or course.

A (8) Excellent

Thorough knowledge of concepts and/or techniques together with a high degree of skill and/or some elements of originality in satisfying the requirements of a piece of work or course.

B+ (7) Very Good

Thorough knowledge of concepts and/or techniques together with a fairly high degree of skill in the use of those concepts and techniques in satisfying the requirements of a piece of work or course.

B (6) Good

Good level of knowledge of concepts and/or techniques together with a considerable skill in using them in satisfying the requirements of a piece of work or course.

C+ (5) Competent

Acceptable level of knowledge of concepts and/or techniques together with considerable skill in using them to satisfy the requirements of a piece of work or course.

C (4) Fairly Competent

Acceptable level of knowledge of concepts and/or techniques together with some skill in using them to satisfy the requirements of a piece of work or course.

D+ (3) Passing

Slightly better than minimal knowledge of required concepts and/or techniques together with some ability to use them in satisfying the requirements of a piece of work or course.

D (2) Barely Passing

Minimum knowledge of concepts and/or techniques needed to satisfy the requirements of a piece of work or course.

E (1) Marginally failing.

F (0) Failing.

When averages are calculated the following table shows the equivalence between the grade point average and letter grades. The third column shows the correspondence between letter grades and percent grades.

letter grade

gra range
Percent range