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Undergraduate Bulletin 2009-2010

Department of Computer Science


Distinguished Professor Emeritae/i
 Richard E. Stearns, Ph.D.
  Princeton University

Professors Emeritus
 Dean N. Arden, Ph.D.
  Purdue University
 Daniel J. Rosenkrantz, Ph.D.
  Columbia University

 Harry B. Hunt III, Ph.D.
  Cornell University
 Neil V. Murray, Ph.D.
  Syracuse University
 Paliath Narendran, Ph.D.
  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
 Sekharipuram S. Ravi, Ph.D.
  University of Pittsburgh
 Dan E. Willard, Ph.D.
  Harvard University

Associate Professor Emeritae/i
 Edwin D. Reilly, Ph.D.
  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Associate Professors
 George Berg, Ph.D.
  Northwestern University
 Peter A. Bloniarz, Ph.D. (Collins Fellow)
  Massachusetts Institute of Technology
 Seth D. Chaiken, Ph.D.
  Massachusetts Institute of Technology
 Mei-Hwa Chen, Ph.D.
  Purdue University
 Andrew R. Haas, Ph.D.
  University of Rochester
 Lenore M. Restifo Mullin, Ph.D.
  Syracuse University
 Tomasz Strzalkowski, Ph.D.
  Simon Fraser University

Assistant Professors
Jeong-Hyon Hwang, Ph.D.
  Brown University

 Siwei Lyu, Ph.D.
  Dartmouth College

Adjuncts (estimated): 6
Teaching Assistants (estimated): 17

Courses offered by the Department of Computer Science provide an introduction to the theory and practice of computing. Familiarity with computer languages and data structures is developed in appropriate courses by the completion of programming assignments related to course material.

Students may elect a short sequence of courses in a particular aspect of computer science, complete a minor for broader competence, or obtain a foundation in both theory and practice by completing either a major in computer science or in computer science and applied mathematics.

Degree Requirements for the Majors in Computer Science

Grade Expectations and Prerequisites
A "C" or "S" or better grade in courses I CSI 210, 310, and 333 or their transfer equivalents is a prerequisite for certain succeeding courses that are required in one or more of the programs below. See the course descriptions for details. In unusual situations, such prerequisites might be waived by the department on recommendation of the succeeding course instructor. Students who do not achieve B or better grades in I CSI 201, 310, and 333 are strongly advised to consider other majors besides Computer Science because such students often fail upper level Computer Science courses required for graduation.

Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science (CSI)

General Program B.A.: a minimum of 41 credits as below plus the completion of an approved minor whose courses do not overlap with any of the courses used to complete this major. (See your advisor to find an addition or substitution in case your minor requires a course from those below.)

  • Computer Systems and Science Core (18 credits): I CSI 201, 210, 310, 333, and 404
  • Programming Principles and Practice (3 credits): one of I CSI 311 or 405
  • Intensive Software Development (3 credits): one of I CSI 402 or 418 or other course with intensive software development as approved by the department
  • Mathematics (11 credits): A MAT 111 or 112 or 118; 113 or 119; and 367
  • Electives (6 credits): two I CSI courses numbered 400-470 or 500-550 or specially approved by the department

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (CSCOMB)

General Program B.S. (combined major and minor sequence):
a minimum of 73 credits as follows:

  • Computer Systems and Science Core (24 credits): I CSI 201, 210, 310, 333, 403, 404 and 409
  • Programming Language Principles (3 credits): I CSI 311
  • Intensive System Software Development (3 credits): I CSI 402
  • Mathematics ( 17 credits): A MAT 111 or 112 or 118; 113 or 119; 220; 367; 214 or 3 credits from any A MAT courses numbered 300 or above
  • Physics and Laboratory Science (8 credits): A PHY 140 or 141; 145; 150 or 151; and 155. Students who took Physics I or II without a laboratory can substitute 1 credit of other laboratory work for each of the A PHY 145 and A PHY 155 requirements
  • Science Sequence (6 credits): one pair of related major biological, physical, or engineering science courses (not in mathematics or computer science) as approved by the department. Approved pairs include A BIO 120 and 121, A PHY 240 and 250, two courses from A PHY 353, 415, and 454, or others as advised
  • Social Aspects of Computing (3 credits): I CSI 300Z
  • Computer Science Electives (9 credits):  6-9 credits must be from I CSI courses numbered 300-470 or 500-550 or specially approved. 0-3 credits may be in A PHY 353 or 454 in digital hardware, or A PHI 432 in advanced logic .      

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics (CSMAT)

The interdisciplinary combined major and minor program in computer science and applied mathematics is an integrated program providing a strong background in the theory and practice of computer science combined with those courses in mathematics which are most likely to be needed for advanced work in computer science, either in graduate study or industrial research and development.

The program provides excellent preparation for the advanced Graduate Record Examination in computer science and will provide an attractive background for admission to high quality graduate programs in computer science. The mathematics portion of the program, with the appropriate selection of one or two electives, can provide a good mathematical background for work in operations research which is an important area of computer application in business, or for numerical computation in a variety of areas related to the scientific and engineering use of computers.

General Program B.S. (Combined major and minor sequence): a minimum of 66 credits as follows:

  • Computer Systems and Science Core (24 credits): I CSI 201, 210, 310, 333, 403, 404, and 409
  • Programming Language Principles (3 credits): I CSI 311
  • Intensive System Software Development (3 credits): I CSI 402
  • Mathematics and Computational Science (30 credits): A MAT 111 or 112 or 118; 113 or 119; 220; 367; 214; I CSI 401; and 9 additional credits in A MAT courses numbered 300 or above
  • Computer Science or Mathematics Electives (6 credits): two I CSI courses numbered 300-470 or 500-550 or specially approved, or A PHY 353 or 454 in digital hardware, or A PHI 432

Advanced Placement Substitutions and Specially Approved Electives for all majors:
The Department may grant advanced placement credit substitutions, and/or replacement of up to 3 credits in Computer Science or Mathematics electives by credits in I CSI 487 or I CSI 488 for Honors majors, or I CSI 490, 497, or 499. Such permission will be granted on the basis of AP exam level, scores and departmental evaluations, the depth and breadth of the resulting program, and a superior grade record of the individual student.

Graduate Course Equivalents
Students admitted into the B.S./M.S. program in Computer Science, and seniors with instructor and departmental approval may substitute the graduate courses, below, for the indicated undergraduate required subjects. Other graduate courses may be taken for electives by such students. However only admitted B.S./M.S. students can apply credits (up to 12) from such graduate courses to an Albany graduate degree. All qualified B.S. majors are encouraged to enter the B.S./M.S. and/or Honors programs in order to maximize their opportunities, even if they do not intend to complete the M.S. degree at Albany. Non-B.S./M.S. students eventually admitted to the graduate programs will have to make up the graduate credits but not retake the courses.

I CSI 501 for 401
I CSI 503 for 403
I CSI 509 for 409
I CSI 518 for 418
I CSI 519 for 311

Consult the Mathematics Department for information about the Combined B.S. in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics with an M.A. in Mathematics.

Honors Program

The Computer Science Departmental honors program is an opportunity for qualified students to undertake research or innovative development projects at the undergraduate level, under individualized guidance of computer science faculty, and gain recognition by presenting their accomplishments in a public forum and by a transcript designation. The honors seminars and projects are often conducted within research groups comprised of computer science and interdisciplinary faculty, graduate students, and other undergraduates.

Students are encouraged to enroll in the Combined B.S./M.S. Program together with this honors program. Combined B.S./M.S. students can substitute some graduate courses for their undergraduate requirements. They might then get an Albany Masters of Science degree sooner by including up to 12 credits from those graduate courses. The honors and beginning graduate study together might also provide excellent preparation for admission to a national research internship program or a Computer Science Ph.D. program.

Eligibility: To be eligible for admission to the honors program in Computer Science, a student must have declared one of the Bachelor of Science major programs in Computer Science; must have completed the following courses with a GPA of at least 3.50: I CSI 201 (or AP), 210, 310 (or a 5 in the CS-AP AB exam), I CSI 333, and preferably A MAT 118 and 119 although A MAT 111 or 112, and 113 are acceptable; have an overall GPA of at least 3.25; and have permission from a prospective faculty honors supervisor for a research specialization area. Prospective honors students must identify and consult a prospective supervisor prior to honors admission, and to request admission during the semester when they will complete the above courses so admission may be determined when all the required grades are in and the proposed area is evaluated.


  • All the requirements for the chosen Bachelor of Science major program must be completed with one or more elective courses chosen in consultation with the faculty to develop rigorous mastery in a disciplinary specialization. These courses may be either part of or in addition to the major, a minor, a second major or graduate requirements. Admitted departmental honors students in the 73 credit Bachelor of Science Combined Major and Minor in Computer Science may use I CSI 487 for one of the three Computer Science electives in that program. Students in the 66 credit Computer Science and Applied Mathematics program must take its two electives in addition to I CSI 487.
  • Three credits of Honors Seminar (I CSI 487): as part of this course, students will do independent study in preparation for research or innovative development projects under the supervision of a faculty member, and to present a colloquium on the topic. See the catalog description.
  • At least three credits of honors or graduate project work (I CSI 488Z and/or I CSI 68x and/or I CSI 699): students will be required to pursue research or innovative development under the supervision of a faculty member and submit a final report describing their original work and its background. The courses necessarily have significant writing components. The student will be required to present a public seminar on the results when the project is completed.  See the catalog descriptions.
  • A GPA of at least 3.50 in the Computer Science courses that go towards the B.S. major must be maintained to continue in the honors program and graduate with an honors major. The faculty supervisor must also certify to the department that the student completed and presented the project results satisfactorily.

Combined B.S./M.A. and B.S./M.S. Programs

Two combined bachelor’s/master’s degree programs are available with the undergraduate major in computer science and applied mathematics. The combined B.S./M.A. program combines the undergraduate program in computer science and applied mathematics with the graduate program in mathematics. The combined B.S./M.S. program combines the undergraduate program in computer science and applied mathematics with the graduate program in computer science.

Both programs provide an opportunity for students of recognized academic ability and educational maturity to fulfill integrated requirements of undergraduate and master’s degree programs from the beginning of the junior year. A carefully designed program can permit a student to earn the B.S. and M.S. or the B.S. and M.A. degrees within nine or ten semesters.

The combined programs require a minimum of 140 credits, of which at least 32 must be graduate credits. In qualifying for the B.S., students must meet all University and college requirements, including the requirements of the undergraduate major described previously, the minimum 60 credit liberal arts and sciences requirement, general education requirements, and residency requirements.

In qualifying for the M.S. or M.A., students must meet all University and college requirements as outlined in the Graduate Bulletin, including completion of a minimum of 32 graduate credits, and any other conditions such as a research seminar, thesis, comprehensive examination, or other professional experience and residency requirements. Up to 12 graduate credits may be applied simultaneously to both the B.S. and M.S. or the B.S. and M.A. programs.

Students may apply for admission to either combined degree program at the beginning of their junior year or after the successful completion of 56 credits. A cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher and three supportive letters of recommendation from faculty are required for consideration, but admission of a student who meets the minimum requirements is not automatic.