CS 173 goes virtual

Confused by the transition to online instruction? See our information page for the latest news on the new course organization. Video lectures can be accessed from the CS 173 channel on mediaspace.

Welcome to the Spring 2020 web page for CS173

Most information will be in the subpages for the two lectures. Links will appear below as we get those pages ready (probably the weekend before classes start).

Meanwhile, please read the registration and start-up information below. You can also look at web pages for previous recent terms to get a sense of what the course covers and how it normally runs.

Textbooks etc

The textbook will be available online.

You will need to buy a copy of the discussion manual. The Union Bookstore sells these at cost, about $5. The manual is the same for the A and B lectures.


Margaret Fleck will be teaching the A lecture. The instructor for the B lecture is Yael Gertner.


The course is now full. The CS academic office is still holding back a few seats for majors with problems. They're expecting to release these on Friday the 24th.

Seats in this course can appear quite late, even during the first couple weeks of classes. For example, students who pass the CS 173 proficiency exam (and can therefore drop the course) won't find this out until about a week into classes. Don't give up until we're past the 10th day of classes. (We do not let students join the class or switch lecture after the 10th day.)

If you aren't yet registered when clases start, COME TO CLASS and stay caught up with the work. Otherwise, it will be difficult to get caught up when you are able to add the course officially.

Prerequisite checking

This course assumes that you have significant practice with recursion, have worked with basic data structures (e.g. linked lists, trees or graphs), and have seen simple examples of big-O algorithm analysis. Students without this background sometimes think they are ok towards the start of the term, but get into trouble midway through the course.

To take this course, you must have completed Calculus I (Math 220 or 221) and CS 125 or ECE 220. Banner is now enforcing these prerequisites automatically, so you will not be able to add CS 173 if you don't have them.

If you have credit for a prerequisite course but it is not visible on your transcript, you must speak to the CS academic office for an override. This would include students with incoming transfer credit, exchange students, and students who pass the CS 125 proficiency exam at the start of the term. Be aware that the academic office is swamped during registration and also at the start of the term, so be patient especially if you are a non-major.

What can be used to satisfy the prerequisites?

Honors and Proficiency Exam

If you have taken previous proof-based math courses, you may wish to attempt the proficiency exam. The next exam date is Tuesday January 21st, 2020, 7-10pm, in 1404 Siebel Center. Advance registration is not required. For more information, see the CS Proficiency Exams page.

For staffing reasons, we will not be running the honors add-on (CS 196, section 73) this term.