CS119--Introduction to Systems Engineering Using Robotics--Spring 2013
Tuesday, Thursday, Period R (3:25-4:40 PM), Room

The Textbook

Course Description

Course Objectives

Course Policies

Grading System

Course Schedule

Prof. Thomas A. Easton

Photo of Professor Easton
OFFICE: Rm. 108

OFFICE HOURS: 12-3 PM MW, 9:30-12 AM TTh

OFFICE PHONE: 859-1331

HOME PHONE: 338-1074


Click here to email me:


Nell Dale and John Lewis, Computer Science Illuminated, 5th ed., Jones and Bartlett, 2013 (ISBN: 978-1-4496-7284-3).

Return to Menu


This course focuses on the basic principles behind computer engineering and programming. Students learn how to develop a requirements list, plan a computer-controlled system (a simple robot), and build and program the system. Principles covered include:
  • Computer architecture
  • History of computers
  • Data representation and storage
  • Gates and circuits
  • Algorithms
  • Programming languages
  • Operating systems
  • Artificial intelligence

See "Course policies" below for details on testing and grading.

Return to Menu


After completing this course, students will be able to:
  1. Develop a list of system requirements for a computer-controlled system
  2. Determine whether available resources can satisfy the requirements
  3. Specify a system that makes the best use of available resources
  4. Construct a computer-controlled system (a robot)
  5. Construct programs to control the system and solve problems

Return to Menu


Each student may be absent twice without penalty. Each additional two absences without a medical excuse (no others are acceptable) will cost the student three points on the course grade.

Grades will be based on six quizzes, two small papers, and one final paper. The papers will be team efforts. The final paper will describe how the design of the robot project was developed and report on the outcome. The project goal will be a robot capable of solving a maze. See the Course Schedule for further details.

Students who plagiarize tests and projects will receive zeros for the work in question, with no makeup opportunities.

Students with a disability who are requesting academic accommodations should contact the Center for Academic Support (CAS) and the instructor as soon as possible.

Return to Menu


A (94 - 100)      A- (90 - 93)
B+ (87 - 89)     B (83 - 86)    B- (80 - 82)
C+ (77 - 79)     C (73 - 76)     C- (70 - 72)
D+ (67 - 69)     D (63 - 66)    D- (60 - 62)
F (below 60)

Return to Menu



Tues 1/8 Introduction: Powerpoint Read Ch. 1
Thurs 1/10 System RequirementsTwo model robots: What do they do? How do they do it?
The class will divide into project teams. Each team will prepare and hand in this Team Report #1.
Tues 1/15 Binary Math Read Ch. 2
Thurs 1/17 Data RepresentationRead Ch. 3
Tues 1/22 Resources for System DevelopmentLEGO NXT orientation
 Quiz #1, on Chh. 1-3
Thurs 1/24 Gates and Circuits Read Ch. 4
Tues 1/29 Computing Components Read Ch. 5
Thurs 1/31Low-Level Programming Languages & Pseudocode Read Ch. 6
Tues 2/5 Matching Requirements and ResourcesCan we build a "maze-solving robot" with LEGO NXT? How close can we come?
Team Report #2: Each team must construct a robot that can follow paths in a maze and progress from the maze entry to the maze exit.. In this report, teams should consider the nature of the task and potential approaches to accomplishing it. Formulate the report as a project proposal.
 Quiz #2, on Chh. 4-6
Thurs 2/7 Problem Solving and Algorithms Read Ch. 7
Tues 2/12 Working with LEGO NXTBuild a simple robot and program it to follow a line.
Thurs 2/14 Working with LEGO NXT 
2/18 - 2/22 WINTER BREAK 
Tues 2/26Working with LEGO NXT 
Thurs 2/28 Abstract Data Types Read Ch. 8
Tues 3/5 Higher-Level Languages Read Ch. 9
Thurs 3/7 LEGO Programming Program your line-follower robot to explore a simple T-maze.
Tues 3/12 LEGO Programming Debugging and running
 Quiz #3, on Chh. 7-9
Thurs 3/14 Working with LEGO  
Tues 3/19 Working with LEGO  
Thurs 3/21 Working with LEGO Modify your program to explore a more complex maze.
Tues 3/26 Operating Systems Read Ch. 10
Thurs 3/28 Working with LEGO Work on your maze-solving robot
4/1 - 4/5SPRING BREAK 
Tues 4/9 Artificial Intelligence Read Ch. 13
Thurs 4/11 Simulation, Graphics, Gaming, etc. Read Ch. 14
Tues 4/16 Work on Your Maze-Solving RobotAssignment: Your final paper (Team Report #3) for the course will describe how you determined the design of your maze-solving robot and program and report on the outcome of your work. During Finals week you will demonstrate your Maze-Solver and hand in your report.
 Quiz #4, on Chh. 10, 13, 14
Thurs 4/18 Start programming your Maze-Solver robot  
Tues 4/23 Work on your Maze-Solver robot  
Thurs 4/25 Work on your Maze-Solver robot  
Mon April 29Final Exams begin

Syllabus last modified December 5, 2012