Hi there 👋 and welcome to CS106B!
CS106B Programming Abstractions is the second course in our introductory programming sequence. The prerequisite CS106A establishes a solid foundation in programming methodology and problem-solving in Python. With that under your belt, CS106B will acquaint you with the C++ programming language and introduce advanced programming techniques such as recursion, algorithm analysis, data abstraction, explore classic data structures and algorithms, and give you practice applying these tools to solving complex problems.
We're excited to share this great material with you and have a superb team of section leaders that will support you through the challenges to come. We hope you will find the time worth your investment and that you enjoy your growing mastery of the art of programming!
Our wonderful undergraduate section leaders.
I) Online Course Essentials
Our course website is located here at https://cs106b.stanford.edu. Our website is your go-to for all course materials (schedule, lecture slides, assignment, section handouts, course policies, and more). Please regularly visit so that you are up-to-date with the latest announcements and course information.
We have a course page on Canvas but we only canvas to distribute videos and nothing more – all other materials are published on our course website.
The discussion forum on Ed is the place for students to to ask questions and discuss course topics with one another and the staff.
Paperless is our tool for assignment submission and grading. You use Paperless to submit assignments, schedule grading sessions and view grading feedback. Signing up for LaIR helper hours is also accessed through the Paperless portal.
II) Course Topics
After you’re finished with CS106B, we hope you’ll have achieved the following learning goals:
- I am excited to use programming to solve real-world problems I encounter outside class.
- I recognize and understand common abstractions in computer science.
- I can identify programmatic concepts present in everyday technologies because I understand how computers process and organize information.
- I can break down complex problems into smaller subproblems by applying my algorithmic reasoning and recursive problem-solving skills.
- I can evaluate design tradeoffs when creating data structures and algorithms or utilizing them to implement technological solutions.
We’ll also be giving you tools to tackle the following questions (note that these don’t have single right or wrong answers!):
- What is possible with technology and code? What isn’t possible?
- How can I use programming to solve problems that I otherwise would not be able to?
- What makes for a “good” algorithm or data structure? Why?
While the below schedule is subject to change over the course of the quarter, we will cover the following topics (in approximate order):
- C++ basics
- Abstract data structures
- Classes and object-oriented programming
- Memory management and implementation-level abstractions
- Linked data structures
- Advanced algorithms
The prerequisite for CS106B is completion of CS106A and readiness to move on to advanced programming topics. A comparable introductory programming course or experience (including high school AP courses) is often a reasonable substitute for Stanford’s CS106A. If you are unsure if this course is the right for you, read more about course placement.
III) Course Structure
If you are an undergraduate, you must enroll in CS106B for 5 units (this is by department and university policy, no exceptions). If you are a graduate student, you may enroll in CS 106B for 3 or 4 units to reduce your units for administrative reasons. Taking the course for reduced units has no change on the course workload.
Lectures will take place on MWF 10-11am Pacific (GMT -7) via Zoom Webinar. Students are encouraged to attend lectures live if possible. Recordings will be posted to Canvas for later asynchronous viewing. Read more about lecture.
Students will be assigned to a small group discussion section that meets weekly for 50-minutes via Zoom. The section will be facilitated by your assigned section leader. Read more about section.
There will be regular assignments, about one per week. An assignment may include written problems, hands-on exercises with the tools, coding tasks and/or a larger complete program. Read more about assignments.
The assignment deadline policy has been designed to build in flexibility , given that the circumstances of online learning can be unpredictable. Assignments submitted by the due date earn a small on-time bonus. After the due date, there is a "grace period" (typically 48 hours) where we will accept late submissions without penalty. Read more about the late policy.
We plan for a mid-quarter diagnostic and an end-quarter personal project. The mid-quarter diagnostic will serve as a check-in to help you assess your understanding of fundamental topics covered in the first half of the course.
The end-quarter personal project will ask you to design a problem of your own that you will write and present to your section leader. This serves as a small capstone to your course experience where you demonstrate how you have grown from a novice padawan into one now capable of teaching to others.
We will have more information about these assessments as the quarter progresses. Our primary focus is to take advantage of the virtual learning environment to create assessments that will allow you to demonstrate what you’ve learned in the class rather than testing you under strict time constraints as in a traditional exam.
Read more about assessments.
Final grades for the course will be determined using the following weights:
- 60% Programming assignments
- 15% Mid-quarter diagnostic
- 15% Personal project
- 10% Section participation
The university “I” grade (“incomplete”) is appropriate for circumstances of significant personal or family emergency disruption that prevent a student from finishing course requirements on schedule. To be considered for an incomplete, you must have completed all assignments up to the time of the request at a passing level. You must also have an extenuating circumstance that warrants an extension of time beyond the end of the quarter to complete the remaining work. Approval for an incomplete is at the instructors’ discretion. Incompletes will not be considered for reasons such as low performance or overcommitment.
IV) Course Resources
Roberts, Eric. Programming Abstractions in C++. ISBN 978-0133454840.
You can either purchase a physical copy or use the course reader . Recommended readings for each lecture will be posted on our lecture schedule.
The official CS106 programming environment is Qt Creator, which is an editor bundled with C++ compiler and libraries. The software runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. The Qt Installation Guide has instructions for installing the tools onto your computer.
We want to enable everyone to succeed in this course and offer different paths to help.
The instructors and head TA will hold office hours (Zoom). The course helpers and section leaders staff regular LaIR helper hours (Zoom). The CS106B Ed Discussion forum allows public Q&A and discussion with your peers.
Read more about getting help.
Students who need an academic accommodation based on the impact of a disability should initiate a request with the Office of Accessible Education. Professional staff will evaluate the request with required documentation, recommend reasonable accommodations, and prepare an Accommodation Letter dated in the current quarter. Students should contact the OAE as soon as possible since timely notice is needed to coordinate accommodations. The OAE has contact information on their web page http://oae.stanford.edu.
V) Honor Code
As a student taking a Stanford course, you agree to abide by the Stanford Honor Code, and we expect you to observe our course-specific Honor Code expectations. Your programs should be your own original, independent effort and must not be based on, guided by, or jointly developed with the work of others.
The CS department employs powerful automated plagiarism detection tools that compare assignment submissions with other submissions from the current and previous quarters, as well as related online resources. The tools also analyze your intermediate work, and we will run the tools on every assignment you submit.
The vast majority of you are here to learn and will do honest work for an honest grade. We celebrate and honor your commitment. Because it’s important that all cases of academic dishonesty are identified for the sake of those playing by the rules, we will refer all cases of concern to the Office of Community Standards.