Homework Guidelines


The homework in this class consists of small, frequent problem sets. There's a problem set due nearly every day in class, and unless specified otherwise, they're all due at 1:30pm on the day specified on the schedule. Most problem sets should take you no more than four hours to do, sometimes a fair bit less. I expect you'll spend about ten to twelve hours per week on homework. If you're consistently spending more than 15 hours per week on homework for this class, please let me know.

All problem-set writeups are to be submitted through Moodle as PDFs prepared with LaTeX, unless specified otherwise. This means that no file formats other than PDF will be accepted, and PDFs produced by any means other than LaTeX will also not be accepted.

You are encouraged to collaborate with your classmates on assignments in figuring out how to solve problems, but you must write your solutions yourself. For more details, please see the Collaboration Policy in the Syllabus. Please work with no more than two other people on a given assignment; you won't learn as much working in a larger group. If you’re working with a group, read over and attempt the problems on your own before you meet. You’ll get more out of it, and so will your group. Remember that you must list your collaborators on every problem, and you may not work from notes generated in a collaborative session!

Content Presentation

I expect that each solution that you submit for each problem will be a little, self-contained piece of technical writing. You don't need to re-state the problem you were given, but you need to provide some context to make it clear what problem you're solving. In addition, mathematical statements should read clearly as complete and logical sentences when translated into English. See the Tutorials page for more details, particularly the documents about writing math.

Formatting Requirements

Every solution you hand in must be typeset in LaTeX and exported to PDF. Please read through my LaTeX resources page for help getting started with LaTeX. On that page, I have posted an example .tex document that meets all the formatting criteria outlined below; you're welcome to use it to get started creating your own documents.

Your submission must be on letter-size (8.5" x 11") paper — note that many LaTeX installs use A4-size paper by default, which is not appropriate for submissions. There should be an effective margin of one inch on the left and right sides of the main body of your submission — LaTeX often puts much wider margins on the page by default, so you have to explicitly change them. There should also be a margin of approximately one inch at the top and bottom of your text. Headers and footers may fall within this margin or may start an inch away from the page edge.

Every submission must have a header with exactly these contents:

<full_name> (<username>) Problem Set <X> CS 202, Spring 2015
Time estimate: <T> minutes Collaborated with: <list_of_usernames>

The header must be separated from the body of your submission by a horizontal line. A “username” is the thing that comes before the “@” in a person's Carleton email address. A “list_of_usernames” is either the string “no one” or a comma-separated list of usernames. If you talk to me, the prefect, another faculty member, a student outside our class, or someone else, they still count; please credit them in your collaborator list. (Though it's okay to go over two collaborators in this case.)

Your typesetting must use text styling (fonts, spacing, alignment, etc.) to differentiate prose, mathematical variables or statements, and pseudocode. Do not use especially small or large fonts; the default sizing used by the LaTeX “article” package is appropriate, except for its humongous section headings. My example document fixes the section headings so they're reasonable for homework, if you want to use them.

If you'd like to include a diagram, a hand-drawn one is acceptable; scan it or take a nice-quality photo and insert it into your document. Diagrams are rarely necessary in your submissions, though.


Submit your solution to each problem as a PDF on Moodle with the following filename: username-X.pdf, where X is the problem-set number. Note that's a hyphen and not an underscore.