• Mandelbrot Assignment: Final Reflection

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Monday 18 September 2017, 06:19:54 PM.

    Hi everybody,

    Sorry it took so long to get this up. There is now a blog template available for you to write your final reflection on how the assignment went for you.

    There are instructions under the assignments section on the side menu, or you can click here .

    This is due by Wednesday night (11:59pm).

    If you haven't finished the assignment yet, it's not too late -- late submissions lose 1% off the maximum possible mark per hour late, so a submission before Wednesday 2am could still get a passing grade.

  • Reminder: Mandelbrot is due today (Sunday 11:59pm)

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Sunday 17 September 2017, 01:28:09 AM.

    Hello everybody,

    I hope you've been enjoying the Mandelbrot assignment, and that you're making good progress (and maybe have even finished it by now).

    This is just a friendly reminder that the assignment is due today (Sunday 11:59pm), except for your "final reflection", which will be due on Wednesday 11:59pm. A blog template for this will be coming out later today.

    Don't forget to check out the MandelbrArt Gallery to admire the beauty you and your fellow students have created. It will automatically re-generate semi-regularly, so submit your tiles to the MandelbrArt activity from Week 8 to have your own tile on display.

    If you have any questions about the assignment, please post them on the forum rather than emailing me directly -- this way the other tutors can also help answer questions, rather than you relying on me for a response.

    Good luck; I can't wait to see your finished work.

  • The MandelbrArt Gallery is live!

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Friday 15 September 2017, 10:57:03 PM.

    Check out the amazing discoveries your classmates have made, and the beautiful tiles and color schemes they have created at [ the MandelbrArt Gallery ].

    To add your own piece of MandelbrArt to the gallery, submit your color scheme and coordinates to the [ mandelbrArt activity ].

  • Important information for Assignment 1

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Thursday 14 September 2017, 12:10:16 AM.

    Hi everybody,

    A few important things to note for the assignment.

    1. There was an issue with the javascript code which initially required the y axis to be flipped. This has now been fixed, and so you must modify your server.c code to pass in y, not -y :

    Change this: = x; = -y; // change this line to not have -y
    drawMandelbrot(pixels, center, z);

    To instead be: = x; = y;
    drawMandelbrot(pixels, center, z);

    Now your mandelbrot images will no longer be subtly upside-down :)

    2. There is an issue where sometimes your server will crash when scrolling quickly. To fix that, add the following code to the start of your main function in server.c:

    signal(SIGPIPE, SIG_IGN);

    And add this #include up the top with the other #includes:

    #include <signal.h>

    For more details, see here:

    3. There is an issue with running your Mandelbrot server on VLAB , where sometimes it won't be able to bind to the socket. It may also appear that your server suddenly is changing in drastic ways.

    To fix this, change the port in your server.c file to be something other than 1511.

    So, change this line:

    #define DEFAULT_PORT 1511

    To something like:

    #define DEFAULT_PORT 12345

    You can choose any number between 1024 and 65535, so try to pick an interesting number. You'll then need to access your server at http://localhost:12345 rather than http://localhost:1511.

    For more details, see here:

    Good luck with the assignment. I'm excited to see the discoveries you make and the beautiful images you create.

  • Practice Prac Exam 1 Results

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Tuesday 12 September 2017, 12:59:35 PM.

    Hello everybody,

    Your results for last Friday's exam are now out. You can view them through WebCMS, sturec, or however you usually view your marks.

    A remarkable 200 students achieved full marks -- well done! To those of you who didn't, don't worry: this was just a practice run, and you have another shot in Week 10, by which point you'll have (hopefully) had more practice and experience with programming and using arrays to solve problems.

    I've had several students ask why their mark was lower than they expected, given that they passed some of the autotests during the exam.

    The way that we did the automarking required you to pass all of the autotests for a given question in order to get marks for that question.

    The motivation behind this was that a lot of people had "accidentally correct" solutions -- where their code did something that was totally broken but just lucked into getting the answers right sometimes. Additionally, it means that a solution was required to be completely correct, rather than partially correct but missing a fundamental part of the requirements to fully solve the problem.

    Again, don't forget that this was just a "practice" exam, and so you also have the exam in Week 10, by which point you will hopefully have had a lot more practice and experience with using arrays to solve problems.

    Depending on how the Week 10 exam goes, we may award partial marks for partially correct solutions. This would require hand-marking partially correct solutions to ensure that marks are awarded for understanding and being able to use arrays, which seems more appropriate to do for the "real" exam rather than just the "practice" exam -- because hopefully many more students will get full marks.

    Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

  • Issue with Mandelbrot Viewer code -- don't use DOCTYPE

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Tuesday 12 September 2017, 01:18:54 AM.

    Hi all,

    For some reason, the HTML code we gave you to load the Mandelbrot viewer has broken. If your Mandelbrot viewer just gave you a black page despite loading the tiles from the server, this should fix it.

    To fix it, simply remove the <!DOCTYPE html> part, i.e. instead of this:

    <!DOCTYPE html> <script src=""></script>

    Just use this:

    <script src=""></script>

    We're not entirely sure what happened -- it was working previously, but all of a sudden stopped working for some reason....

    Good luck with your assignment, I'm looking forward to seeing the fantastic images you discover.

  • Exam Skeleton + Information + Practice Questions

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Friday 08 September 2017, 12:31:07 AM.

    Hello everybody,

    I have created a "skeleton" of tomorrow's exam -- the exam paper (including instructions etc), but with the actual questions themselves removed.

    You can view it [here] . I recommend having a read through to familiarise yourself with the structure of the exam (number of questions, how to run autotests and submit them, etc), and to make sure you understand the exam instructions.

    A few things to note for tomorrow's exam:

    - If you're in the first session (3pm-4:30pm), you won't be allowed to leave until the exam is over.

    - If you're in the second session (4:20pm-6pm), you MUST arrive at (or before) 4:20pm. If you're not in the room at exactly 4:30pm, you won't be permitted to sit the exam.

    The only things you can bring with you into the exam are:

    - your student card
    - pens/pencils/etc
    - a clear water bottle (with no label)

    If you bring a phone, laptop, watches, or any other electronic devices you must turn them OFF and leave them in your bag.

    We will provide you with paper you can write/draw on during the exam.

    You can check your exam seating [here] : make sure you know where you're going so that you're not late! You can see a map of where the various CSE labs are [here] .

    I've also had a few requests for clarification about how the marks will work for the Week 7 and Week 10 exams . Your final mark will be the better of the two marks you get for the Week 7 and Week 10 exam. So if you get 80% tomorrow and 75% in Week 10, you'll get 80%. If you get 70% tomorrow and 90% in the Week 10 exam, you'll get 90%. If you get 100% tomorrow, you won't have to sit the Week 10 exam, since you've already gotten the best possible grade.

    Finally, I have released some revision questions on arrays, and some practice exam questions . I'll also be adding to this between now and the Week 10 prac. You can find those [here] .

    Good luck for the exam, and I'll see you all tomorrow.

  • Practice Exam#1 - Seating allocation

    Posted by Mei Cheng Whale Wednesday 06 September 2017, 12:10:25 PM.

    Check when and where you will be taking the exam.

    Note that the room that you are allocated to is unlikely to be the same as the OTH lab that you were enrolled in. If you were enrolled or selected the second (later) session on the swap form, you have to assemble in a corralling room at 4:20pm.

  • Assignment 1 is here!

    Posted by Jashank Jeremy Tuesday 05 September 2017, 03:16:07 AM, last modified Tuesday 05 September 2017, 03:16:24 AM.

    The fractal of fun continues... assignment 1 is now up! Head over to the Assignment 1 pages on WebCMS 3 for all the details, and to ask questions.

  • Friday's exam: timeslot swapping and details on exact times

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Tuesday 05 September 2017, 01:48:34 AM.

    Hello everybody,

    I have some important information about the exact times for Friday's practice practical exam.

    • For students in the 15:00 - 16:30 timeslot
      • 15:00 - 15:15 Students wait outside lab room.
      • 15:15 - 16:30 Exam (incl reading). Students must not leave during exam.
      • 16:30 - 16:33 Students wait inside lab room, get ready to leave at 16:33.
    • For students in the 16:30 - 18:00 timeslot:
      • 16:20 - 16:40 Students assemble in a tutorial room. Students arriving after 16:30 cannot take exam . Attendance taken. No communication via mobile devices, laptops, carrier pidgeons, etc is permitted after 16:20.
      • 16:40 - 16:45 Students escorted to lab room.
      • 16:45 - 18:00 Exam (incl reading). Students allow to leave early.
      • Note that students in the 16:30 timeslot MUST arrive 10 minutes early, at 16:20.

    We have put together a form where you can update your timeslot preference for Friday's exam.

    You can view it and fill it in here:

    I will be releasing more information in the days before the exam about the format/structure of the exam and questions.

  • Upcoming Practical Exam

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Saturday 02 September 2017, 04:03:51 PM, last modified Sunday 03 September 2017, 02:28:19 PM.

    Hello everyone,

    As you may have seen in your timetables, we have a practical exam scheduled for Friday Week 7 (8th September). This is what the "OTHER" component of your course timetable is. You'll either be enrolled in the 3-4:30pm or 4:30-6pm timeslot.

    This will be a practice practical exam, where you will be required to solve tasks by writing programs that use arrays .

    There are two practical exam "hurdles" in this course (exams which you must pass in order to pass the course). One is on arrays, and the other is on linked lists (which you will be learning in the second half of semester).

    Week 7's practical exam will be a "practice run", where you get a chance to experience the exam environment, and to get used to what practical exams are like. The "real" practical exam for arrays will be held in Week 10.

    However, if you get full marks in this "practice" practical exam, we'll count that as your arrays exam mark, and you won't have to sit the Week 10 exam! Woohoo!

    And if you don't get full marks, that's fine -- it's just a practice run, and when the Week 10 exam comes around, you'll hopefully be feeling a lot more confident about sitting a practical exam.

    If you also don't pass the Week 10 exam, you'll have another chance in the final exam to pass the arrays "hurdle" -- that is, if you pass some specific question(s) in the final practical exam about arrays, you'll have passed the arrays hurdle.

    If you are registered with UNSW Disability Services and require educational adjustments for exams, and have not yet sent me your letter of support, please do so ASAP by emailing so that we can ensure your adjustments are in place.

    If you are unable to make your scheduled timeslot for the exam , it might be possible for you to sit the exam in the other of the two timeslots (3-4:30pm, 4:30pm-6pm), but this is not guaranteed. If this applies to you, please get in touch ASAP by emailing so we can try to arrange something. Make sure your email includes COMP1511 in the subject, has your zID in the body of the email, and is sent from your university email address.

    In order to prepare for the exam, make sure you've completed the Week 5 and 6 exercises that involve arrays (and strings) .

  • Marks and submissions temporarily unavailable in WebCMS3

    Posted by Jashank Jeremy Wednesday 30 August 2017, 12:28:41 PM, last modified Thursday 31 August 2017, 12:28:01 PM.

    Update: it's fixed, thanks to the wonderful team of people who look after WebCMS3. If you're still having trouble, let us know.

    Hello! WebCMS3 is currently experiencing problems viewing marks and submissions, which you'll see as the grades page only shows "N/A" and all the "check submission" pages showing errors and no submission.

    Your submissions haven't disappeared, and from a terminal on a CSE system or on VLAB, you can run

    1511 classrun check activity-name

    to check your submission, and

    DISPLAY=; 1511 classrun sturec

    to see your marks.

    Alternatively, you can check Give Online for marks and submissions.

    This issue should only be temporary, and we're hoping it will be resolved in the next day or two. Our apologies for any confusion.

  • ‚ÄčAssignment 0 Marks FAQ

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Tuesday 29 August 2017, 03:18:51 PM.

    I've set up a webpage where you can see details about the tests that your program didn't pass.

    To see it, go to the following webpage, and log in with your zid and zpass :

    I also have written answers to some questions I've been asked multiple times:

    Q : Help, `1511 classrun sturec` doesn't work on VLAB and I get a weird error.

    A : For some reason, that command doesn't work on VLAB. As a workaround, you can view grades on webcms, or through Give Online [ here ]. The command should still work fine on lab computers.

    Q : I passed all of the unit tests in the stub code, and I passed the autotest, why didn't I get 74/74?

    A : From the assignment spec:

    "The remaining 74% of the marks for this assignment will come from the correctness of your program, i.e. what proportion of the autotests your program passes. These autotests will not be available to you during the course of the assignment, and will only be run after the due date of the assignment. Therefore, it is in your best interests to write your own extensive unit tests, so that you can catch any bugs in your program before we run our tests against it."

    The tests that we ran over your final submission were much more extensive than the unit tests provided in the stub code, to cover all of the possible cases.

    If you tested your code extensively by writing many of your own unit tests, and by running all of the shared unit tests that students contributed, you would have hopefully caught most of the bugs in your code. If you passed all of the shared unit tests, then it's quite likely you passed most, if not all, of our final tests.

    However, if your code only passed the assert tests in the stub code, there is no guarantee at all that your code was correct, as we intentionally only gave you a very limited set of tests.

  • Andrew's consultation hour today (K17 G01) not running

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Tuesday 29 August 2017, 01:13:35 PM.

    Hello everybody,

    Unfortunately my voice is still stuck in another timezone, so I won't be running my face-to-face consultation hour today.

    However, I will be answering emails [from now until 5:30pm], so if you have any questions that you would have asked me during the consultation today, please feel free to send me an email with that question.

    My email address is:

    Please make sure you send any emails from your uni email address, and include your zid. Please also put "COMP1511" in the email subject, so that I don't accidentally miss it.

    I will soon be sending out another announcement with answers to some frequently asked questions about the provisional marks, as well with information on how you can see a breakdown of your mark, and which specific tests you failed.

  • Provisional Assignment 0 marks are available

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Tuesday 29 August 2017, 01:56:00 AM.

    Well done on finishing your first assignment! You should be very proud of what you've managed to achieve.

    A *provisional* correctness mark is available, based on how your program went at solving our hundreds and hundreds of unseen unit tests. This mark is not final, and may still change, but should be a good indicator, for most people, of your program's performance. The mark does not take into account any late penalty, or any other penalties that may be applied.

    The mark shown is out of 74. Remember that your assignment marks are split up 74% correctness, 15% style, and 1% unit test.

    You can also see whether you submitted at least one valid unit test - Y means Yes you did, No means No you did not.

    If your provisional correctness mark is a dot, this means something went wrong - maybe your code didn't compile, maybe you didn't submit your code before I generated the marks earlier today. Don't stress - if you're not sure what went wrong, just send me an email and we'll work out what's going on.

    If you submitted late, your assignment will still be assessed - this mark is just a quick early mark to give you an indication of your progress.

    At a later point, you will be able to see the full breakdown of what test categories your program passed, and details of the tests that you failed.

    To see your marks, you can go to the "marks" section on webcms (down the bottom of the sidebar, near your name). You can also run `1511 classrun sturec` from a terminal (e.g vlab or ssh)

    And finally, if you haven't submitted yet, it's not too late - there is a late penalty of 1% off the maximum possible mark per hour late your submission is. Submitting it at noon on Tuesday would mean your maximum possible mark would become 64% - if your program would have been awarded 95% it will now get 64%, if it would have been awarded 55% it will still get 55%.

  • Milestone 2 due Wednesday

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Sunday 27 August 2017, 05:46:45 PM.

    As the assignment is due on Sunday night (tonight... mere hours away), we've decided to shift the due date for the Milestone 2 write-up to be Wednesday instead.

    For this Milestone, we've set up templates directly within the blog post editor, so you won't need to manually copy across the template yourself.

    To complete this milestone write-up: fill in the Milestone 2 template in a new blog post.

    Follow the instructions [here] to create a new blog post from a milestone template.

    Make sure to select the "Milestone 2" template.

    This milestone is due on Wednesday the 30th of August, at 11:59:59pm -- due date extended as the assignment was due on Sunday.

  • Assignment 0 is due tonight

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Sunday 27 August 2017, 12:46:01 PM.

    Hello everyone,

    I hope you've been having a good weekend.

    This is a friendly reminder that Assignment 0 is due tonight , at 11:59pm.

    A few last-minute tips:

    - Make sure you have not changed the function prototype or the provided #defines. If you change e.g. #define CITY_ADELAIDE to be a number other than 0, your code will fail the tests.

    - Make sure your code does not printf anything, and does not scanf anything.

    - Make sure the code you submit compiles. You can test this by running the autotest: `1511 autotest assign0`, or by submitting (where it will run the autotest before submitting). Several students have submitted code that doesn't compile. Please make sure you're not one of them.

    - Make sure you try submitting well and truly before the deadline, in case something in your code isn't working. Don't assume that just because it works on your computer, it will work on CSE.

    - You must submit at least one valid unit test to the shared unit tests. I have been running a script to test your unit tests and tell you if they're broken, but don't rely on it.

    Note that you can submit your code multiple times without any penalty (as long as it's before the due date).

    If you are having problems submitting through WebCMS (or if you get a "tests could not be run" error), try submitting through [ give online ], or directly from a lab computer or vlab.

    Good luck with the assignment.

  • Due date for week 5 exercises extended by 1 week

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Thursday 24 August 2017, 08:26:18 PM.

    Since Assignment 0 is due on Sunday, as well as there being quite a few activities this week, we have decided to give you an extra week to work on the Week 5 exercises.

    There will still be a lab next week, and we will still release new lab exercises next week.

    Good luck with your assignment.

  • Assignment 0

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Sunday 20 August 2017, 09:40:23 PM.

    I hope you're all making good progress on Assignment 0.

    There are a few important things you need to be aware of:

    1. There is an Assignment 0 FAQ , under "Assignments" on the course website. I will be updating this with answers to frequently asked questions about the assignment, so if you have any questions about the assignment, be sure to check the FAQ first.

    2. It's possible that changes may need to be made to the assignment stub code (e.g. if a unit test is incorrect). If this happens, the stub code will be updated, and the version number will increase. The current (as of this email) stub code version is 1.0.4 . If you have a different version, you should check out the latest version on the course website.

    3. Information on the marking criteria and late penalty can be found on the assignment page . You should read over this yourself, but in summary:

    - Your assignment will be marked for correctness and programming style . You also need to submit at least one good unit test to the shared unit tests.

    - The late penalty is 1% per hour off the maximum possible assignment mark . If you handed your assignment in 24 hours late, it would be able to get a mark no higher than 76%. If your assignment would have been awarded 50%, it would still receive 50%. However, if your assignment would have been awarded 80%, your mark would be reduced to 76%.

    4. And, a friendly reminder: do not use any syntax that hasn't been covered so far in the course . You can only use syntax that was covered up until the assignment was released, which means you cannot use arrays or loops. (You can use functions, and we highly recommend you make good use of functions in your solution).

    Good luck!

  • How to post code in blogs with indentation etc

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Saturday 12 August 2017, 05:10:14 PM, last modified Saturday 12 August 2017, 06:25:02 PM.

    Many of you have been having issues with posting code in your blogs, where the formatting/indentation doesn't work.

    I've put together some instructions on how you can paste code in your blog with the indentation etc still working.

    The instructions are here: .

    I hope you find them helpful!

  • Consultations start tomorrow (Tuesday)

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Tuesday 08 August 2017, 12:26:44 AM.

    I will be holding weekly consultations on Tuesdays from 2:30pm to 3:30pm, in the ground floor consultation rooms of K17 (the Computer Science building), starting from tomorrow.

    If you have any questions about the course -- content, administrative issues, assessments, etc -- feel free to come along and ask me.

  • Milestone write-ups

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Friday 04 August 2017, 03:41:20 PM.

    I've had a few questions about the "milestone writeups" -- what they are, what you'll need to do, when they'll be due.

    All will be revealed very soon. The first due date won't be at the end of this week (week 2) as it was tentatively scheduled in the course scheduled, but will be at the end of next week (week 3) instead.

    For the writeups, there will be a series of short questions for you to give brief responses to, about your progress in the course thus far (or since the previous milestone, which will be roughly every two weeks after the first submission).

    It should hopefully be a quick and easy thing for you to do, while giving you a chance to think about how you're going in the course and to help you stay on top of things.

    I'll be posting more information and full instructions on what will be involved ASAP, by the end of this week (but hopefully sooner -- I'm aiming to release it by the end of today).

    But, rest assured, I won't make you hand in any assessment tasks without giving you full details about what you need to do and without making sure everybody understands what's going on.

  • Help Sessions (or Consultations)

    Posted by Mei Cheng Whale Thursday 03 August 2017, 11:47:33 AM.

    They start today 5-7pm in Strings Lab (J17 302). Check the Help Sessions . Due to the short notice, not all tutors are available today. But at least one will be.

  • Lecture recordings available on course website

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Wednesday 26 July 2017, 02:56:24 PM.

    Hi everybody,

    I hope your first week back at uni has been going well so far.

    The lecture recordings are now available on the course website , on the left hand side under "Lecture Recordings".

    The link to the lecture recordings may change in the future, but you'll always be able to find the most up-to-date link on the course sidebar. Make sure you check the course sidebar rather than bookmarking where it currently links to.

    If you are in the WEB stream, or you missed the first lecture for any reason, you must watch the lecture videos before your tutorial/lab each week. It's also very important if you miss a lecture during semester that you watch the lecture videos to catch up on that lecture before attending the following lecture, as the course builds on itself each week.

    I'll try to have the videos up as soon as possible after each lecture. There were some technical difficulties this week with viewing the videos through Echo360 (where lecture videos normally go), so I wasn't able to get them up as quickly as I would have liked -- my apologies.

  • New Tut-Lab Class (F09B) Friday 9-12

    Posted by Mei Cheng Whale Tuesday 25 July 2017, 07:47:23 PM.

    If this time slot suit you better, you may swap to it via myUNSW before end of this week.

  • Welcome to COMP1511

    Posted by Andrew Bennett Monday 24 July 2017, 06:23:41 PM.

    Welcome to COMP1511 and welcome to CSE!

    It was lovely meeting you all in the lecture earlier today.

    The COMP1511 website is at and you login using your zID and zPass .

    You've probably been told to access your course through UNSW's Moodle system, but most CSE courses don't use Moodle (because we have better systems in-house :-).

    The course website has the slides from today's lecture, as well as the tutorial and lab exercises for the week. We are also in the process of adding more resources that will help you get set up and get started, so stay tuned.

    Note that Tutorials (aka "tutes") and Laboratory Classes (aka "labs") start in Week 1, with a nice easy introduction to your friendly tutor, CSE and the Labs. Check under Timetable on the web site for the times and locations of your classes.

    If you have a laptop bring it to your week 1 lab if you can.

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