Lectures, Textbooks, Etc
CS 173, Fall 2014

Lectures and Discussion Sections

This course has 75-minute lectures twice a week and a 50-minute discussion section once a week. See the official registration system for the times and locations of lectures and discussions.

Discussions and the first half of the Tuesday lectures are mandatory, because you will be doing work (discussion problems, examlets) that contributes to your final grade. The Thursday lecture and the second half of the Tuesday lecture are recommended but not required. They will present additional examples to help you understand the more difficult concepts from the textbook readings.


Announcements are made in lecture and/or on our Piazza forum. If you miss lecture, you can find announcements later on the lectures page. You are encouraged to use Piazza to discuss concepts, homework problems, and the like. However, you may not post solutions to graded problems (e.g. exams, mini-homeworks) that folks may still be working on. Even after the standard deadline, some of your classmates may still be working due to extensions. If you aren't sure whether it's appropriate to post something, consult the course staff.

On-line resources

We will be using Piazza for on-line discussions and moodle for online assignments and posting grades. Please consult them regularly as the term progresses.

To sign up for CS 173 on piazza, you will need an access code that will be given out in lecture (or ask a member of the course staff). Please check carefully that you're enrolling in the forum corresponding to your lecture (A or B). Since Piazza is not part of the university, we can't directly control what they may do with your email address. So, if you don't want to give them your U. Illinois email, you can use any email address you want, even an anonymous one.

Most of you should already be registered for CS 173 on moodle. If not, or if you are auditing the course, you can use the same access code from lecture to enroll yourself. If you have to locate CS 173 in the main tree of courses, be aware that all engineering courses are listed under the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. (Don't ask.)


The official course text is Building Blocks for Theoretical Computer Science, Version 1.3.

You will need to purchase the manual of discussion problems, available for about $5 at the Union Bookstore. You should bring this to your assigned discussion each week. You will also need to purchase a carbonless-duplicate lab notebook or something with similar functionality. When you submit problems in discussion, we will NOT return your submissions. Carbonless duplicate notebooks allow you to retain a second copy for your later studying.

We also have three books on reserve at Grainger Library:

These can be useful if you'd like to see ideas presented by a different writer (often helpful for understanding them) or investigate concepts in more detail.