CS329E: Spring, 2013
Elements of Navigating Cyberspace

Instructor: Dr. Bill Young; Unique number: 53390
Class time: MWF 10-11am; Location: MEZ B0.306
Office:GDC 7.810; Office Hours: MWF 11-noon and by appt.
Office Phone: 471-9782; Email: byoung@cs.utexas.edu
TA: Joyce Whang; Email: joyce@cs.utexas.edu;
TA Hours and location:M 3-5pm (Desk 1), Th 1-3pm (Desk 3), GDC 1.302
This website: www.cs.utexas.edu/users/byoung/cs329e/syllabus329e.html

Important Class Announcements:

Breaking news important to the class will be posted here. Consult this spot often.

No article is required for the week of the final test. We're finished with those. I hope that you learned something from them.

The final test will be in class on Wednesday, May 1. You can bring a single, handwritten 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheet of notes. A study guide for the test is here: study guide. A vocabulary list is here: vocabulary.

You should have received feedback from Joyce on your websites. Please revise them taking account of her comments and send the URL for the revised versions to her and to me no later than Tuesday, April 30.

If you did poorly on the midterm, don't be overly concerned. I am prepared to make the following blanket offer: if you do better on the final exam, I will use your final exam score for both the final and midterm exam scores. If you don't do better on the final exam, I will just keep both. So it's a no-loss situation for you.

The midterm has been graded and the scores should now be posted. The statistics are here: stats.

The order of presentations is here: order of presentations.

Here are the answer for the Information Theory assignment: answers.

If you send me an email message, please put "CS329E" in the header. I'm teaching two other classes this semester, and this helps me to understand the context of your question or comment.

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Some Interesting Links:

New in online Education
Crowd sourcing limits
Better Password Encryption
Measuring Redundancy in Encoding
An Internet Minute
Internet vs. Sex
Moshers and Emergent Behavior
Facebook making us lonely
Social media statistics
The anternet
Education about the Internet
Value of the Internet
Flaw in symmetric encryption
Digital Sound Quality
CS Hot Major
Analog and Digital
Could the Internet be Destroyed
Color Scheme

UTCS Elements Program:

Regardless of their field of study, college students live in a digital information age. The Elements of Computing Program is a set of courses intended to help students understand the sophisticated technologies they use everyday as well as gain the computer skills that employers value. Elements courses are intellectually stimulating and personally rewarding, and they can supplement any undergraduate program.

Course Description:

College students inhabit an electronic wonderland. They access, surf, IM, download and Google with facility. But how many students really understand the sophisticated technologies that make this possible. This course is designed to peek beneath the surface to see how modern digital media actually operate. Topics might include:
  1. What is information after all?
  2. How does information flow in cyberspace?
  3. What is a network?
  4. The Internet
  5. The World Wide Web
  6. HTML and Browsing
  7. Internet tools
  8. Email
  9. Audio and Video On-line
  10. Security in cyberspace
  11. Netizens: worms, spiders, trojans


You are expected to have taken and passed at least one of the following courses (or equivalent) with a grade of at least C: CS307, CS313E, or EE322C. If you don't have the appropriate prerequisite, be sure to clear it with the CS department.

Required text:


Class Notes:

Handouts of all class slides will be made available over the course of the semester via links below. Slides are available in PostScript (PS) or in PDF format. The PostScript files can be viewed with Ghostview or printed on any postscript-compatible printer. The PDF files can be viewed with Acroread.

Slide set 1: Introduction to Cyberspace PS-4up  PDF-4up  PDF

Slide set 1a: Simple HTML PS-4up  PDF-4up  PDF

Slide set 2: Signals PS-4up  PDF-4up  PDF

Slide set 3: Elementary Information Theory PS-4up  PDF-4up  PDF

Slide set 4: The Internet: Preliminaries PS-4up  PDF-4up  PDF

Slide set 5: The Internet: Physical and Link Layers PS-4up  PDF-4up  PDF

Slide set 6: The Internet: The Network Layer PS-4up  PDF-4up  PDF

Slide set 7: Domain Name System PS-4up  PDF-4up  PDF

Slide set 8: The Internet: The Transport Layer PS-4up  PDF-4up  PDF

Slide set 9: HTTP PS-4up  PDF-4up  PDF

We may or may not get to this slideset.

Slide set 13: Search Engines PS-4up  PDF-4up  PDF


There may be readings on-line. There will also be assignments over the course of the semester. Each student must work on assignments individually unless the assigment explictly allows collaboration.

Important: You must have a web account on the ITS server. Do this even if you have personal webspace somewhere else, but you don't need to repeat this if you already have ITS webspace. To obtain your web account, go to the following link and follow the instructions: ITS Webspace. Also, find out how to put files there. You will be posting the solutions to most assignments on your personal webspace. A persistent problem is past semesters has been students creating pages on the webspace that are not world readable. We should be able to view your postings just by clicking on the link or visiting the page. It should not be necessary to log in to view the page.

Links to the assignments will appear below. Check this page often and be sure to check that any particular assignment or due date has not been changed.

One assignment due during the second half of the semester will involve selecting a topic relevant to the subject matter of the course, preparing a research paper and website on the topic and making a short presentation of your findings to the class. There will be more guidance on this later in the semester, but if you find a topic that interests you, feel free to claim it (in an email to me) as soon as you like. No two gruops will be allowed to choose the same topic, but you'll probably be working in pairs (or triples) on this assignment.

Assignment 1 (Create webpage and Hello World): Due Friday, 1/25/13

Assignment 2 (Update your personal webpage): Due Friday, 2/1/13

Assignment 3 (Weekly online article): Due each Friday, beginning 2/8/13

Assignment 4 (Info theory examples): Due Monday, 2/11/13

Assignment 5 (Select report topic): Due Monday, 2/25/13

Assignment 6 (ping and nslookup): Due Monday, 3/4/13

Assignment 7 (website, presentation, questions): three parts, due at various times

Information will be provided on how to submit assignments; most will be posted on your webspace. Concerns about your assignment grades should be addressed first with the TA, and only with Dr. Young if you can't obtain satisfaction there.

Assignments will be graded on a 10 point scale with 1 point deducted for each day the assignment is late (up to 2 days). After 2 days, we'll still accept the assignment, but will deduct an appropriate amount depending on the circumstances. In general, it is better to do the assignment, even if it's late. The number of days late is purely a function of the timestamp recorded when you submit the assignment. The TA may turn off the turnin program after the due date, but accept late assignments by email. Please coordinate with the TA regarding late submissions, or if you desire to re-submit an assignment following the due date.


Short in-class quizzes may be given at any time. These will cover material covered in previous classes. The goal of quizzes is to test your understanding of the material and to give you an idea of the types of questions that will appear on exams. There will be no makeups for quizzes you miss, but any single quiz is only a small proportion of your final grade.


There will be two major tests during the semester. The first will be given in class on Wednesday, March 6. The second test will be given during the regular class time on Wednesday, May 1. There will be no final exam during the regular exam time. Tests are closed-book, closed-notes tests, except that you may bring a single handwritten sheet (8 1/2 by 11 inches) of notes (both sides). Your best study strategy is to review the class notes and readings to ensure that you understand thoroughly the topics we covered in class.

No laptops:

Students are asked not to have their laptops or other electronic devices open during class. Copies of all slides will be provided. Please just listen and absorb the material.

Grading policies:

Class attendance is encouraged and will be checked on a majority of class days. Excessive unexcused absences will result in a reduced grade. If you don't plan to come to class regularly, please don't register for this class. Signing in for another student not present will be considered cheating by both students.

Grades are averaged using the weighting below:

Attendance, Quizzes and Participation 10%
Website and Presentation 15%
Other assignments 20%
Midterm Test 25%
Final Test 30%

Course grades are assigned on the scale: A = 90-100; B = 80-90; etc., except that I reserve the right to be more generous than this indicates. That is, I may (and usually do) enlarge the range for any grades. I will never shrink them. I do not use the plus/minus grading scale.

Using Piazza:

This semester we will be using Piazza for class discussion. The system is highly catered to getting you help fast and efficiently from classmates, the TAs, and myself. Rather than emailing questions to the teaching staff, I encourage you to post your questions on Piazza. If you have any problems or feedback for the developers, email team@piazza.com. Our class page will be set up shortly and announced here.

Scholastic Dishonesty:

Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. See www.cs.utexas.edu/users/ear/CodeOfConduct.html for an excellent summary of expectations of a student in a CS class.

No deviation from the standards of scholastic honesty or professional integrity will be tolerated. Scholastic dishonesty is a serious violation of UT policy; and will likely result in an automatic F in the course and may result in further penalties imposed by the department or by the university. Don't do it. If you are caught, you will regret it. And if you're not caught, you're still a cheater.

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