About CS0931

Jan 24, 2013

Thanks for your interest in our course!

This document covers three topics: the waitlist, background, and workload. It addresses most of the questions you are likely to have, so please read it carefully.

First and foremost: if at any point you decide you are no longer interested in the course, let the staff know so we can remove you from the waitlist! You may be blocking another interested student.


Right now, everybody is on the waitlist. Banner overrides are painful work, so I'd like to do it only after students are done shopping.

To be admitted to the course, you have to attend every class, and do the first homework.

Initially, attendance is huge — people sitting on the floor, etc. Don't worry: it's just shopping at work. Instead of fretting over your waitlist number, just show up and do the work. No promises, but we'll do our best to make it work out.

We can usually squeeze in a small number of extra students if a few students use their own laptops and don't need one of our desktop machines. You may also find it more pleasant to work on your own laptop. But remember, you'll have to bring it to every class.

Finally, if you have special circumstances (e.g., you enrolled last semester but talked to us about taking it this semester instead), we'll take that into account. Remind us if it looks like we've forgotten. For now, don't sweat it.


If you can use Excel to add a column of numbers, you have all the background we expect. If you don't know how to do that but can figure out how to do so, you should be fine.

If you have done any prior programming, this is probably not the class for you. See http://www.cs.brown.edu/ugrad/whatcourse.html.


You've probably heard legends about computer science workloads. Some of it is true, and some is not. Either way, 0931 is not your typical computer science course. We expect you to put in about 10 hours per week; depending on your perspective, this can seem like a little or a lot. All the course staff are available to help you, but learning the material in this course requires a time investment.

On the upside, you'll come out of CSCI 0931 with a lot of valuable skills. In the past fifty years, computing irrevocably changed subjects like engineering, physics, and biology, and it is now starting to do the same for the social sciences and humanities. You stand at the cusp of a new computing revolution. 0931 is a relatively unique opportunity: few universities have such a course (and even fewer did when it was first offered a few years ago). We offer a supportive environment that, combined with your hard work, will put you at the front of this wave. With the skills you get in this course, you should be able to contribute that much more effectively to your chosen field, whatever it is, as computation takes a larger role over time.