BBM 101 - Introduction to Programming I

Fall 2020

Mark I Perceptron
Drawing of Analytical Engine. Image: University of Cambridge

Course Information

Course Description

This course serves as an introduction to the fundamentals of computer science and programming. It aims to help students with little or no programming experience to gain necessary skills to work with abstract notions for solving computational problems. The course is structured around basic topics such as control flow, functions, lists, input and output, simple data structures (sets, dictionaries), testing and debugging, and recursion.
The class will use the Python as a medium to provide a basic understanding of basic concepts in computer science, and the students will gain hand-on experience via a set of programming assignments supplied in the complementary BBM 103 Introduction to Programming Practicum.

Time and Location

BBM 101

Section 1: Wednesday at 13:00-15:50 remotely via Zoom
Section 2: Wednesday at 13:00-15:50 remotely via Zoom

BBM 103

Lab Section 1: Friday at 13:00-14:50 remotely via Zoom
Lab Section 2: Friday at 13:00-14:50 remotely via Zoom


Fuat Akal's avatar

Fuat Akal (Section 1)

Office Hours:

Office 202

Erkut Erdem's avatar

Erkut Erdem (Section 2)

Office Hours:


Teaching Assistants

Bahar Gezici's avatar

Bahar Gezici

Office Hours:

NLP Lab (118)

Nebi Yilmaz’s avatar

Nebi Yilmaz

Office Hours:



The course webpage will be updated regularly throughout the semester with lecture notes, programming and reading assignments and important deadlines. All other course related communications will be carried out through Piazza. Please enroll the corresponding class pages by following the links and


Students are not expected to have any prior programming experience.

Course Requirements and Grading

Grading for BBM 101 will be based on

  • five short exams (25%),
  • one midterm exams (35%),
  • a final exam (40%).
In BBM 103, the grading will be based on
  • a set of quizzes (25%) (the lowest 1 quiz grades will be dropped),
  • five programming assignments (5+10+20+20+20 = 75%) (done individually).


All work on assignments must be done individually unless stated otherwise. You are encouraged to discuss with your classmates about the given assignments, but these discussions should be carried out in an abstract way. That is, discussions related to a particular solution to a specific problem (either in actual code or in the pseudocode) will not be tolerated.

In short, turning in someone else’s work, in whole or in part, as your own will be considered as a violation of academic integrity. Please note that the former condition also holds for the material found on the web as everything on the web has been written by someone else.

Attendance to lectures is mandatory. A student who do not attend the lectures more than 4 weeks will fail BBM101 directly with an F1 grade. A student who do not attend more than 3 recitation sessions or do not submit more than 1 assignments will fail BBM103 directly with an F1 grade. You are responsible for all material presented in lectures. Some of the course material might not be covered in the textbook.

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Reference Books

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Week Lecture Reading and Other Material Assignments
1 What is computation and Computational Thinking [slides] Guttag 1, Downey 1
Video: The birth of the computer, George Dyson
Reading: Computer Science, Allen Newell, Alan J. Perlis, Herbert A. Simon
2 Binary representations and the Von Neumann architecture [slides] [codes] Alvarado et al. 4 (excluding 4.5-3-4.5.4)
HMMM Simulator
PA 1 out
3 Introduction to Algorithms and Development Strategies [slides]
Short Exam 1
PA 1 due
4 Introduction to Python, Statements, Expressions [slides] Guttag 2.1, Downey 5.1-5.3
5 Control flow, Functions [slides]
Short Exam 2
Guttag 2.2-2.4, 3.1-3.2, 4.1-4.2, 4.4, Downey 3, 5.4-5.7
6 Arrays, Lists [slides] Guttag 5.1-5.3, 5.5, Downey 10 PA2 out
7 Tuples, Sets, Dictionaries [slides]
Short Exam 3
Guttag 5.1, 5.6, Downey 11, 12, 14.1-14.4, 14.11
8 Higher Order Functions [slides] Alvarado 3.5-3.8 PA2 due, PA3 out
9 File IO [slides]
Midterm Exam
Guttag 4.6, Downey 14
10 Debugging, Exceptions, Testing [slides] Guttag 6,7, Downey Debugging sections of each chapter, Appendix A PA3 due, PA4 out
11 Recursion [slides]
Short Exam 4
Guttag 4.3, Downey 5.8-5.10, 6.5
12 Understanding Data [slides] Guttag 11, Downey 14.1-14.4, 14.11
Immigration data on Canada as Excel file
bbm101.csv file
Breast Cancer Detection codes as Jupyter Notebook
Breast Cancer Detection codes as pdf
PA4 due, PA5 out
13 Algorithmic Speed [slides]
Short Exam 5
Guttag 9, Downey Appendix B
14 Classes [slides]
Short Exam 6 (Optional)
Guttag 8, Downey 15-17 PA5 due

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Programming Assignments

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General purpose text editors

  • Vim (Linux, OS X, Windows)
  • Emacs (Linux, OS X, Windows)
  • Sublime Text (Linux, OS X, Windows)
  • Week 10 Exercise Input File

Setting up Python

PyCharm Edu Integrated Development Environment (IDE) will be used in laboratory classes for learning how to program with Python.

Previous editions

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