2014 HMC CS Department Placement Survey

HMC CS site    HMC main site

Welcome!    Please take a moment to tell us a bit about your background with computer science and/or computer programming. We will use this to help us place you into an appropriate CS course in the upcoming fall term of 2014.

     Thank you!

HMC CS placement options

Most often, one of these sections is appropriate:
  • The CS 5 "green" and CS5 "gold" sections are designed for students without CS or programming experience. It introduces the broad field of computer science using the Python programming language. Topics include functional programming, computer organization, procedural programming, and uncomputable problems. After CS 5 "gold/green" you will be prepared to continue with CS 60, HMC's second CS course, if you wish. The "green" section emphasizes biological motivations and contexts to introduce the same fundamental computing skills as "gold." The "gold" section draws its contexts and examples from across engineering, the natural sciences (including biology), and mathematics.

  • The CS 5 "black" section is designed for students with some high-school CS or programming experience (in any language). This section covers the same material as in "green" or "gold," but spends less time on topics that will be familiar to students with some programming experience. "Black" uses this extra time to explore applications of CS such as cryptography and data compression, among other topics. The instructor of CS 5 black will decide on final placements in the last week of August. The "black," "green," and "gold" sections prepare students equally well for CS 60.

  • The CS 42 course is appropriate for students who did well on the AP CS exam or have college CS experience. If you earned a 5 on any CS AP exam, you would likely place into here. If you have other significant CS experience, we ask you to let us know via this form. CS 42 is a fast-paced introduction to many topics in CS including functions as first-class objects, parsing, logic programming, models of computation, and uncomputability, along with considerable program development. Students in CS 42 write programs in Racket (Scheme), Prolog, Python, and several special-purpose languages. After CS 42 you will be ready to take CS 70, HMC's third CS course. Students who request placement into CS 42 may be asked to complete a short computing exercise when they arrive at HMC in fall 2014. The instructor of CS 42 will decide on final placements in the last week of August.
Your name  
Your email  
Background with computer science
Do you have any background with computer science and/or computer programming? We're interested in everything: courses taken, self-taught activities, job-related experiences, etc.
Placement preference? Other comments?
If you have a placement preference - or any other comments or concerns - please let us know here:

Feel free to contact Zach Dodds (dodds@cs.hmc.edu) or any other member of the CS department, for that matter!
We look forward to seeing you in the fall!

            —    the HMC CS department.

Here are some frequently and not-so-frequently asked questions:

Q: Is CS 5 "Black" more work than CS 5 "Gold/Green"? How about "42"?
A: The workload in CS5 is calibrated to be consistent among its sections, presuming students in CS5 "black" have some background in CS and/or programming. CS42 is intended to be an accelerated introduction to computer science for students with AP-level background or more; students do report that CS42 takes a bit more time, on average, than CS5 "gold/green" or "black." Though times can vary a lot from person to person, rough numbers might be ~9 hours/week for "42" and ~6 for CS5.

Q: Why do CS 5 and CS 42 use Python 2.7 and not Python 3.x?
A: Libraries!

Q: I want to take CS 5 "clear." When will you offer that section?
A: Every HMC student is stealth-enrolled in CS 5 "clear." You will be contacted by its overseers when you least expect it.