Contents Preface The Department Course Descriptions Degree Requirements Degree Checklists

 1998/1999 Undergraduate Calendar

The Department

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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 3.0, COSC1530 3.0, Introduction to Computer Use I & II and COSC1540 3.0, Computer Use for the Natural Sciences. The course COSC1530 3.0, Introduction to Computer Use II is an introduction to computer programming and may be taken as preparation for COSC1020 3.0 if the student lacks background in this area. Students taking the 1500 series courses are not eligible to take the 2000-level Computer Science courses without successful completion of COSC1020 3.0 and COSC1030 3.0.

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

Computer Facilities

Undergraduate students work in the Ariel Lab, the Department of Computer Science undergraduate computing laboratories. First and second year students have access to 37 colour NCD X-terminals, and 20 Sun workstations. Third and fourth year students are granted access to the Senior Lab, containing 23 colour Sun workstations, most of which are Sun Ultra 1. Senior students may also use a variety of specialty laboratories in their courses including the Robotics Laboratory, the Real-Time Laboratory, and the Multimedia Laboratory.

The Robotics Laboratory consists of a CRS+ robot arm, a RWI B12 mobile robot, Sun workstations with video acquisition hardware, and NCD terminals.

The Digital Logic Laboratory provides hands-on experience in computer design.

The Real-Time Laboratory provides a high performance Sun workstation, a PC and industry-standard software tools for the design and analysis of real-time systems. The new addition to the lab is the Marklin digital train set with computer controlled and monitored locomotives, turnouts and position sensors. The Sun workstation and the PC running Windows NT can be used to control the set.

The Multi-media Laboratory provides video and audio and multi-media author tools based on Macintosh computers and a scanner.

All workstations and micro-computers in the Department are connected up to the campus network backbone, providing access to all significant systems in the University, as well as computers around the world via Internet.

Access to the Ariel Lab machines requires an authorized account and a password, as issued by the Department. Each student receives an Ariel account, providing a personal space for storing files, electronic mail, and course work. Students are automatically given access to the machines required to do their course work. However, students who would like to work on a project outside of assigned class work may ask a faculty member to act as their supervisor, and 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), or 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 attempting to break 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 Senate policies (see the link Official York Policies, under Administrative Services at

The department computer system coordinator, in conjunction with the department and York Computing Services, will investigate any suspected violation of these guidelines and will decide on appropriate penalties. Users identified as violating these guidelines may have to make monitory restitution and may have their computing priviledges suspended indefinitely. This could result in your being unable to complete computer science courses, and a change in your major.

Adverse behaviour may also violate university, provincial and federal laws; 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.

Computer Science Academic Achievement Award

Up to two cash awards (aproximately $150) will be presented to outstanding graduating students in an Honours programme. These awards are funded by contributions from faculty members in the Department.

Other Awards

Students in the Department may also apply for Summer Science 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.

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).

Academic Policies


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

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 academically dishonest. 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.

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.

Moving to New Programme Requirements

Whenever new programme requirements are introduced the following policies apply:

The Ordinary programme is available only to students who declared Computer Science as their major prior to FW98/99.

The starting year in computer science is defined as the first academic year in which you took or will take COSC1020 3.0, if you take courses in consecutive years. If you have a break in your studies then your starting year changes to the year in which you are readmitted.

If requirements change you may continue with your studies using the requirements in effect in your starting year. In this case the degree checklists in this calendar may not apply. You should use the degree checklists from your starting year.

If requirements change you may elect to graduate under the new requirements but you must meet all of them. You are not permitted to mix and match old and new requirements.

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. Such a request is made in writing using the appropriate 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.


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Contents Preface The Department Course Descriptions Degree Requirements Degree Checklists