2017 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 2017.

     Thank you!

HMC CS placement options

Most often, one of these sections is appropriate:
  • The CS 5 "green" and CS 5 "gold" sections are designed for students without CS or programming experience. Both sections cover the same foundational material and provide students with the same preparation for subsequent CS courses. The "gold" section draws its context and examples from across engineering, the natural sciences, and mathematics. The "green" section motivates the material through current problems in the life sciences and asks students to write programs to solve these problems (e.g., determining why certain bacteria cause diseases while others do not, analyzing DNA to determine if someone is lactose intolerant, etc.).

  • 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, also using the placement exercise on August 23, 2:45-4pm in Galileo Hall. The "black," "green," and "gold" sections prepare students equally well for CS 60.

  • The CS 42 The CS 42 course is appropriate for students with significant CS experience (e.g., students who did well on the AP CS exam and / 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 models of computation, uncomputability, functional programming, analysis of programs, software engineering, and algorithmic techniques. Because of students' prior experience, we focus more on Computer Science than programming at first: we won't write code for the first month of the semester. After that, we'll write programs in several languages. After CS 42 you will be ready to take CS 70, HMC's third CS course; please note that CS70 is available only in the second year and beyond. Students who request placement into CS 42 will be asked to complete a short computing exercise when they arrive at HMC in fall 2017. 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 across CS5 is calibrated to be consistent, presuming students in CS5 "black" have some background in CS and/or programming. CS5 "green" and "gold" do not require any background. CS42 is intended to be an accelerated introduction to CS for students with AP-level background or more; students report that CS42 takes a bit more time than CS5's sections. Times vary from person to person: common reports are ~8 hours/week for "42" and ~6 for CS5.

Q: Which version of Python are you using in 2017?
A: This fall (2017) we're going to use Python 3 (Anaconda). Hooray!

Q: Which IDE/editor will CS5 suggest in 2017?
A: This fall (2017) we're using the Atom editor

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.