CS 5381 Topics in Software Engineering/CS 4390 Special Topics - Introduction to Formal Methods, Fall 2016


For CS 4390 students, there will be two exams: mid-term and final. The mid-term exam will take place during the regular class session and will be 80 minutes in length. The final will be a take-home exam in the last week (refer to Important Dates for tentative exam dates).

For CS 5381 student, there will be only a mid-term exam; there will be no final exam. The mid-term exam will take place during the regular class session and will be 80 minutes in length. There is no final exam.

Make-up exams will be given only when you have unusual circumstances, such as incapacitating illness or presenting a research paper at a conference. If you believe that you have an unusual circumstance that warrants a make-up exam, notify us as soon as possible. If you will be attending a conference or other event, you must make arrangements for a make-up exam in advance. Under all circumstances, you are required to provide official documentation before a make-up will be administered.


There will be occasional written homework assignments (refer to the Schedule for planned homework). All assignments shall be done individually unless otherwise specified, and no late submission will be accepted unless arrangements have been made in advance or unless unusual circumstances warrant an exception.

For CS 5381 students, there is another type of assignments: paper presentation. Students are expected to read and present research papers related to the course topics---formal methods and program verification. The number of presentations will be one or two depending on the class size. A suggested, tentative list of papers is found at the end of this syllabus, however students are free to choose papers for their presentations. The paper presentation is optional for CS 4390 students but will earn bonus points.


CS 5381 students should do a small, semester-long class project. The purpose of this project is to apply the concepts, techniques, methods learned from the course to your thesis or dissertation research. Sample project topics will be suggested by the instructor, but you may choose your own project topic; however, your topic must be approved by the instructor. You are expected to write a project proposal, submit a final project report, and present the project result in class.

CS 4390 students are not required, though encouraged, to do a semester project, but they can opt for the semester project instead of taking the final exam. If you do a semester project, you will earn more points toward your final grade.


Your grade is independent of anyone else's grade; that is, we do not grade on a curve. Everyone can get an A in this course. The purpose of grading is not to rank you, but to uphold a standard of quality and to give you feedback. The final letter grade will be based on a combination of assignments, project, exams, and class participation. The approximate percentages are as follows:

Assignments 50%
Mid-term exam 20%
Final exam/project 30%

There are also up to 5% bonus points for lecture attendance and class participation. To earn this, you must arrive at lecture on time and participate in class discussion in a constructive and prepared manner, e.g., by asking or answering questions that demonstrate that you have read and attempted to understand the material.

The nominal percentage-score-to-letter-grade conversion is as follows:

Percentage Grade
90% A
80% B
70% C
60% D
less F

The instructor reserves the right to adjust these criteria downward, e.g., so that 88% or higher represents an A, based on overall class performance. The criteria will not be adjusted upward, however.


Lecture attendance is required; you should understand that your success in the course will improve greatly by attending classes regularly. The following is excerpted from the 2016-2017 Graduate/Undergraduate Catalog.

The student is expected to attend all classes and laboratory sessions. It is the responsibility of the student to inform each instructor of extended absences. When, in the judgment of the instructor, a student has been absent to such a degree as to impair his or her status relative to credit for the course, the instructor can drop the student from the class with a grade of W before the course drop deadline and with a grade of F after the course drop deadline.

Standards of Conduct

You are expected to conduct yourself in a professional and courteous manner, as prescribed by the Handbook of Operating Procedures: Student Conduct and Discipline. All graded work (homework, projects, exams) is to be completed independently and should be unmistakably your own work, although you may discuss your work with others in a general way. You may not represent as your own work material that is transcribed or copied from another source, including persons, books, or Web pages. "Plagiarism" means the appropriation, buying, receiving as a gift, or obtaining by any means another's work and the unacknowledged submission or incorporation of it in one's own academic work offered for credit, or using work in a paper or assignment for which the student had received credit in another course without direct permission of all involved instructors. Plagiarism is a serious violation of university policy and will not be tolerated. All cases of suspected plagiarism will be reported to the Dean of Students for further review.


If you have a disability and need classroom accommodations, please contact The Center for Accommodations and Support Services (CASS) at 747-5148, or by email to cass@utep.edu, or visit their office located in UTEP Union East, Room 106. For additional information, please visit the CASS website at www.sa.utep.edu/cass.

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