COMP 150 MDC - Syllabus

Description and Objective:
Information theory and source coding; block and variable-length coding including
Huffman codes, Tunstall codes, arithmetic coding; dictionary-based methods including Lempel-Ziv and Ziv-Lempel; context-based compression, audio, image, and video compression including MP3, JPEG, and MPEG.

Prerequisites: Comp 15

Introduction to Data Compression, 4th edition
Khalid Sayood
Morgan Kaufmann, 2012
Book web site

Anselm Blumer

ablumer (at) cs dottufts dot edu
Halligan Hall, Room 211
Office Hours: Tuesdays 10:30 - 11:30 and Wednesdays 3:00 - 4:00
Home page

Students are encouraged to communicate frequently with the instructor and TA regarding any issues with the course. Students are encouraged to use email and office hours frequently. Any announcements regarding the course will be made via the course webpage or in class so be sure to check it frequently and be sure to get material for any class you miss.

We have a Piazza Forum for class discussion. For most questions about assignments, please use the Piazza forum. That way, you will benefit from the expertise of other students as well as the professor. Other students will see your question and the answer.

There is one important exception: because the course collaboration policy requires that you never publicly post any writing that you create as solutions to our assignments, you have two options for asking detailed questions about your own code or designs:

Homework will be assigned regularly in the course. Assignments will be a combination of written and computer assignments. It is also important to do the reading assigned for each class. Ideally, class time will be used to clarify and expand upon the reading rather than just repeating what's in the text, but this will not work unless students come to class prepared to discuss and ask questions about the material.

The written assignments will be due on Thursdays at the beginning of class on the due date specified. This work can be handwritten with the assumption that these assignments are legible. (A student may be asked to type their assignments if grading is not possible.) The computer assignments will be submitted via "provide" at the date and time specified on the assignment.

Late Homework:
In order to faciliate timely return of homework 20% of the total number of points for the assignment will be deducted daily. No homework will be accepted after one week.

Homework delayed due to illness:
If you are unable to complete a homework assignment due to illness, please notify the instructor as soon as possible, preferably before the assignment is due. Health Services will provide "Medical notes" in only some circumstances, in other cases you should use the "Illness Notification Form" as explained on the Health Services web page on medical excuse policy

There will be no exams unless there are problems with academic honesty during the course. In case of academic dishonesty the instructor reserves the right to add a final exam and change the grading structure.

There will be in-class short quizzes on random days. The purpose of the quizzes is mainly to give feedback on which material needs to be covered more extensively and provide motivation to do the reading. Quizzes will be graded on a 0,1, 2 scale, with zero indicating no evidence that the reading assignment was attempted and a two reserved for particularly good answers.

Grade Calculation:
95% Homework
5% Class participation and quizzes

If a final exam is necessary this will change to:

55% Homework
40% Final exam
5% Class participation

Your thoughts and concerns on this course are important. You are encouraged to give feedback to the instructor throughout the term. As always students will be asked to fill out a course evaluation at the end of the term.

Academic Misconduct:
Students should read the Tufts brochure on academic integrity located at:

A few highlights are presented to emphasize importance:

Absolute adherence to the code of conduct is demanded of the instructor, teaching fellow, and students. This means that no matter the circumstance any misconduct will be reported to Tufts University. Particularly egregious cases may be sent directly to Locatus of the Borg.

While students are encouraged to discuss course materials, no collaboration is allowed on homework. Specifically you may discuss assignments and projects verbally, but must write up or work on the computer alone. In addition any discussion should be documented. An example on the homework would be "Thanks to Ray for helping me understand Kolmogorov complexity." Another important example is citing a source, this could be "This information was adapted from"

While computers enable easy copying and collaboration both with other students and materials from the Internet, it is possible to use these same computers to detect plagiarism and collaboration.

If any student does not understand these terms or any outlined in The Academic Code of Conduct it is his/her responsibility to talk to the instructor.