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Watch a playlist of 18 student testimonials about CS10.

CS10, The Beauty and Joy of Computing, is an exciting new course offered by the UC Berkeley EECS Dept. Computing has changed the world in profound ways. It has opened up wonderful new ways for people to connect, design, research, play, create, and express themselves. However, just using a computer is only a small part of the picture. The real transformative and empowering experience comes when one learns how to program the computer, to translate ideas into code. This course will teach students how to do exactly that, using BYOB (based on Scratch), one of the friendliest programming languages ever invented. It's purely graphical, which means programming involves simply dragging blocks around, and building bigger blocks out of smaller blocks.

But this course is far more than just learning to program. We'll focus on some of the "Big Ideas" of computing, such as abstraction, design, recursion, concurrency, simulations, and the limits of computation. We'll show some beautiful applications of computing that have changed the world, talk about the history of computing, and where it will go in the future. Throughout the course, relevance will be emphasized: relevance to the student and to society. As an example, the final project will be completely of the students' choosing, on a topic most interesting to them. The overarching theme is to expose students to the beauty and joy of computing. This course is designed for computing non-majors, although interested majors are certainly welcome to take the class as well! We are especially excited about bringing computing (through this course) to traditionally under-represented groups in computing, i.e., women and ethnic minorities.

Some history: in the Fall of 2009, we piloted a 2-unit version of this course as the freshman/sophomore seminar CS39N: The Beauty and Joy of Computing to 20 students. It was such a success that we decided to move ahead to make this course our new computing course for non-majors, replacing the venerable CS3L and CS3S. Fall 2010 was a 90-person pilot and since then we're continued to grow the course as word spreads to more students. We have continually replaced the weakest parts of the curriculum to arrive at the current form of the course.

We will be using Pair Programming, described best by Laurie Williams, a computer science professor at North Carolina State University: "Two programmers working side-by-side, collaborating on the same design, algorithm, code or test. One programmer, the driver, has control of the keyboard/mouse and actively implements the program. The other programmer, the observer, continuously observes the work of the driver to identify tactical (syntactic, spelling, etc.) defects and also thinks strategically about the direction of the work. On demand, the two programmers can brainstorm any challenging problem. Because the two programmers periodically switch roles, they work together as equals to develop software."


20 Jun HW0 Turn-in
Since HW0 is on paper, please turn it in to your TA in lab or in lecture on Thursday.
16 Jun Welcome to CS10, Summer 2012 Edition
I'm excited to share the Beauty and Joy of Computing with you! On behalf of the course staff, we are all looking forward to a great summer. - Ben Chun


Webcasts of past lectures are freely available online!


Weekly Schedule

Hour Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:00am Lab 111
(Pierce Vollucci)
200 Sutardja Dai

Lab 111
(Pierce Vollucci)
200 Sutardja Dai



Office Hours
(Max Doughtery)
411 Soda

12:00pm Discussion 111
(Pierce Vollucci)
320 Soda
Lab 112
(Max Dougherty)
200 Sutardja Dai
Office Hours
(Pierce Vollucci)
611 Soda
Office Hours
(Max Doughtery)
411 Soda
Office Hours
(Ben Chun)
329 Soda
Discussion 111
(Pierce Vollucci)
320 Soda
Lab 112
(Max Dougherty)
200 Sutardja Dai




Office Hours
(Pierce Vollucci)
611 Soda

4:00pm Lecture
306 Soda
306 Soda
306 Soda
306 Soda

5:00pm Discussion 112
(Max Dougherty)
320 Soda

Discussion 112
(Max Dougherty)
320 Soda

Semester Schedule (subject to change)

Week Dates Required Readings Recommended Readings Lecture 1 (M) Discussion 1 (M) Lab 1(M) Lecture 2 (Tu) Lecture 3 (W) Discussion 2 (W) Lab 2 (W) Lecture 4 (Th) HW & Projects Due
1 Jun 18 -
Jun 24
Prof. Harvey's Intro to Abstraction
Why Software is Eating the World
Designing Games with a Purpose (GWAP)
Justices Split on Violent Games
Is Abstraction the Key to Computing?
Kinect's Future
a Game Controller in Everything

Animating a Blockbuster
More readings on video games
Abstraction Welcome, Introductions, and Expectations Broadcast, Animations, & Music
3D Graphics Video Games Anatomy of a Computer & The Power of Binary Loops and Variables Functions Homework 0
Friday at 11:59pm
2 Jun 25 -
Jul 1
Program or Be Programmed (Video: Author Speech)
BtB Chapter 1
How Algorithms Shape Our World
Scratch: Programming for All (CACM) Programming Paradigms Video games Random, If, & Input
Algorithms I Algorithms II, Order of Growth Lists & Algorithms Lists I
Lists II
Quest (in-class exam) Homework 1
Friday at 11:59pm
3 Jul 02 -
Jul 08
How Moore's Law Works
Free Lunch is Over *
Spending Moore's dividend (CACM) Concurrency Algorithms & Algorithmic Complexity Algorithms
Algorithm Complexity

Recursion I Fourth of July
Fourth of July
Fourth of July
Guest Lecturer Gerald Friedland: Multimedia and Online Privacy Homework 2
  Tuesday at 11:59pm
Homework 3
Sunday at 11:59pm
4 Jul 09 -
Jul 15
BtB Chapter 2
BtB Chapter 4 Reading Segment 1
BtB Chapter 4 Reading Segment 2
Computing as Social Science
BtB Chapter 3
Living in a Digital World
Recursion II Recursion, Project Introduction

Recursion I
Guest Lecturer Raffi Krikorian: 'Twitter'  Social Implications I Recursion Revisited
Recursion II
Project Work
Game Theory Project Proposal Tuesday 11:59pm
Midterm Progress Report
Sunday 11:59pm
5 Jul 16 -
Jul 22
BtB Chapter 5 Reading Segment 1
BtB Chapter 5 Reading Segment 2
BtB Chapter 5 Reading Segment 3
BtB Chapter 6 (27-37)
Data Explosion Creates Revolution Guest Lecturer Bjoern Hartmann: HCI

Social Implications of Computing

Recursion III
Project Work
Guest Lecturer Anna Rafferty: Artificial Intelligence Guest Lecturer Prof Kathy Yelick: 'Saving the World with Computing
(CS + X)'

Midterm Prep

Applications That Changed The World
Online Midterm Exam
Applications that Changed the World
Midterm Project
(and some general tips)
Friday at 11:59pm

Midterm Review Session on Sunday July 22nd in Soda 306, 1-4pm
6 Jul 23 -
Jul 29
BtB Chapter 7
What is Cloud Computing? (Video)
A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing *
BtB Chapter 8
Can Your Programming Language Do This?
Lambda + HOFs I
Artificial Intelligence

Study for
Paper Midterm Exam (2060 VLSB, Mon, Jul 23, 6-8 pm)
Lambda + HOFs II Distributed Computing HOFs & Lambdas

Lambda + HOFs I
Lambda + HOFs II
Cancelled Blog Entry
Friday at 11:59pm

Blog Comments
Sunday at 11:59pm

Project Proposal
Friday at 11:59pm
7 Jul 30 -
Aug 05
What is IBM's Watson?
The Great Robot Race (Video)
Computers Solve Checkers -- It's a Draw
Brian Harvey's AI notes
Why is Quantum Different?
Quantum Leap
The First Church of Robotics
The Thinking Machine (Video)
Apple's 1987 Knowledge Navigator (Video)
Microsoft's view of productivity in 2019 (Video)
The Future of Augmented Reality
Apple's Siri
BtB: Conclusion
Limits of Computing HOFs & Lambdas Revisited
Distributed Computing
Project Work
Future of Computing Guest Lecturer Prof Armando Fox: 'Cloud Computing' Open Topic/Final Thoughts
Project Work and Peer Review
Project Work
Summary and Farewell Final Project Progress Report
Tuesday at 11:59pm

Final Project
(and same general tips)
Friday at 11:59pm

Final Exam Review Session on Sunday August 5th in Soda 306, 1-4pm
8 Aug 06 -
Aug 12
No Reading (RRR and Final)
Reading Slides
Programming Slides

Online Final Exam RRR
Paper Final Exam (2060 VLSB, Wed, Aug 8, 6-9 pm)

* These readings are required, but are challenging - you should understand the "big idea" concepts, if not all the technical details.



Ben Chun (bio)
OH: 329 Soda
Tu 12-2pm

Teaching Assistants

Pierce Vollucci (bio)
OH: 611 Soda
Tu 12-1pm & Th 3-4pm

Max Dougherty (bio)


Christian Pedersen (bio)

Kelsey Thierault (bio)


For the most part, we would prefer to teach this course without grades. What a wonderful concept, learning for learning sake! However, even though we can't change the "system" overnight, we can create grading policies that support learning as much as possible. The various course activities will contribute to your grade as follows:

Activity Course Points Percentage of Total Grade
Weekly Quizzes and Homework 60 15%
Paper 60 15%
Midterm Project 60 15%
Final Project 60 15%
Quest 20 5%
Midterm 60 15%
Final Exam 80 20%

How We'll Calculate Your Grade

Your letter grade will be determined by total course points, as shown in the table below. There is no curve; your grade will depend only on how well you do, not on how well everyone else does. Incomplete grades will be granted only for dire medical or personal emergencies that cause you to miss the final exam, and only if your work up to that point is satisfactory.

Points Grade
390-400 A+
370-389 A  
360-369 A-
350-359 B+
330-349 B  
320-329 B-
310-319 C+
290-309 C  
280-289 C-
240-279 D  
< 240 F  


λ BYOB : Build Your Own Blocks
λ Scratch Forums
λ Blown to Bits
λ Debugging Rules!
λ UC Berkeley
λ College of Engineering
λ Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences
λ Webcast archive of 2010Fa lectures
λ Solutions to Lab Exercises

Contact Webmaster 2012-08-03@22:55:13 PDT

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