Key information

  • Lectures: MW 3:05-4:25pm, location GHC 5222 (center of helix in Gates)
  • Lecture sessions will be recorded and posted on Canvas.
  • Lecture attendance in person is expected and will be the primary means to earn participation points.

Course sections

This course is offered as 15-388 (a 9-unit course for undergraduates), and 15-688 (a 12-unit course for master’s). Both 388 and 688 have the same lectures, but the latter will have additional advanced problems in their assignments.


Programming experience is necessary for the course, all assignments are in Python. For undergraduates, either 15-112 or 15-122 is required.

Experience with linear algebra, probability, and statistics is recommended, but not strictly required (courses like 21-240/241/242 for linear algebra or 36-201 for probability/statistics are more than sufficient). Students concerned about whether they have a proper background should contact the course instructors to discuss.


Grades will be a combination of homework assignments, a tutorial project, a final project, and participation.

  • 40% homework
  • 20% tutorial
  • 30% final project
  • 10% class participation


Participating in lecture will be the means to earn participation points.

Participation will be based on the percentage of in-class polling questions answered:

  • 10% for 80% or greater poll participation
  • 7.5% for 70%
  • 5% for 60%
  • 2.5% for 50% Correctness of in-class polling responses will not be taken into account for participation grades.

It is against the course academic integrity policy to answer in-class polls when you are not present in lecture. Violations of this policy will be reported as an academic integrity violation. Information about academic integrity at CMU may be found at


All course communication will take place via Piazza. This includes any course announcements and the Q&A forum.

Please, please, please, make your posts public so that everyone can benefit. You may even get a faster response as your classmates are likely to have answers too.

Additionally, all communication with the instructor will be through Piazza (not email). If you have a matter that really only applies to you, you can make a private post on Piazza. The only reason to use email rather than Piazza is if you don’t have access to the course Piazza site.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

If you have a disability and have an accommodations letter from the Disability Resources office, we encourage you to discuss your accommodations and needs with us as early in the semester as possible. We will work with you to ensure that accommodations are provided as appropriate. If you suspect that you may have a disability and would benefit from accommodations but are not yet registered with the Office of Disability Resources, we encourage you to visit their website.

Statement of Support for Students’ Health & Well-being

Take care of yourself. Do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle this semester by eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, and taking some time to relax. This will help you achieve your goals and cope with stress. All of us benefit from support during times of struggle. There are many helpful resources available on campus and an important part of the college experience is learning how to ask for help. Asking for support sooner rather than later is almost always helpful.

If you or anyone you know experiences any academic stress, difficult life events, or feelings like anxiety or depression, we strongly encourage you to seek support. Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS) is here to help: call 412-268-2922 and visit their website at Consider reaching out to a friend, faculty or family member you trust for help getting connected to the support that can help.

If you have questions about this or your coursework, please let us know. Thank you, and have a great semester.