Please read this page carefully and refer to it when in doubt about the course policies.


Attendance at all lectures is expected although attendance will not be taken. Assignments and other material will be posted on the website but they are not intended as substitutes for lectures. Some topics discussed in classroom lectures may not be reflected on the website. Students are responsible for all the material covered in class, whether or not it appears on the website. If you missed a lecture, please ask other students, or me (the instructor) about the topics covered in the lecture you missed.


Raw scores will be computed using the following weights for different assessment components.

  • Exams: 60%
  • Assignments: 35%
  • Class participation: 5%

Once the final raw scores have been computed, the class mean score will be treated as the minimum score to obtain a B- letter grade (see UBC’s letter grade computations in the page regarding grading practices). If the class mean is m and the standard deviation is s then m+s/3 will be the minimum raw score for obtaining a B and m+2s/3 will be the minimum score for obtaining a B+. m+s will be the cutoff for an A- letter grade, m+4s/3 will be the cutoff for an A. Similarly, the C+ cutoff will be m-s/3, the C cutoff will be m-2s/3 and the C- cutoff will be m-s. Normally m-2s will be the cutoff for a letter grade of D but raw scores < 35% will be a definite F. Once letter grades are assigned an adjusted final score will be computed to match the numeric score and the letter grade per UBC’s grading practices. If the raw score is greater than the adjusted score then only the raw score and its corresponding letter grade will apply for the final  grade.

We reserve the right to modify the grading policies slightly as the term progresses. On occasion, extra credit assignment questions may be posed. Further, the instructors reserve the right to lower the grade of any student who is not making any effort to understand the material (for example, if more than 50% of the obtained raw marks are from applying the “I don’t know” policy).

Group Work

Students should work in groups of their choice (two or three students per group) to complete the written homework assignments (with the exception of Homework 0). Only one submission per group is expected. Each assignment should clearly indicate the names and student numbers of the students submitting the assignment.

Homework Assignments

Assignments will be announced at regular intervals. At least one week will be allotted to complete an assignment. The assignments will be due at 11:59 p.m. on the due dates. All assignments should be submitted online, using TurnItIn.com.

  • You must typeset your solutions. LaTeX is the recommended mathematical formatting and typesetting tool although Microsoft Word or similar word processors can also be used.
  • We expect to assign about 36 problems for homework over the course of the term and the highest 30 scores will be considered for computing the homework grade (each of the highest 30 scores will be weighed at 1% when calculating the total raw score). We might also assign programming assignments and we’ll adjust the grading scheme accordingly.
  • A more detailed discussion of expectations from homework assignments is available and is based on practices at other universities. (Pay attention to the “I don’t know” policy that applies to homework assignments and to exams.)


There will be two midterm examinations and a final examination. Check the course schedule for examination dates. The time allotted for the midterm exams will be one hour, and the time allotted for the final exam will be two and a half hours. The exams, together, will contribute to 60% of your final grade. The two midterm exams will consist of 4 problems each, and the final exam will consist of 8 problems. Of these 16 equally-weighted problems, the twelve highest scores will be considered when computing a student’s exam marks. Each of these twelve questions contributes 5% to the final grade.

Academic Honesty

Students are permitted to work in groups. You may teach other students in your group and learn from them. However there must be no collaboration between different groups. Cases of cheating will be dealt with according to UBC’s policies for academic misconduct. This paragraph summarizes a more detailed note on academic integrity.

Excuses and Extensions

Under ordinary circumstances late homework assignments will not be accepted. The policy of dropping one assignment is designed to cover the gamut of minor problems (such as minor illnesses).

Please contact the instructor in case of extraordinary situations such as

  • Serious illnesses,
  • Family emergencies,
  • Scheduling conflicts with examination and quizzes.

Depending on the circumstances, I may offer a makeup exam or adjust the weight associated with some component of the course. Documentation (such as a doctor’s note) will be required as appropriate to the situation. Moreover, I must be informed beforehand if you will be unable to sit for a quiz or an exam. If you have a disability or other special circumstance that may require special accommodations, please talk to me.

Grading Errors

We (the teaching assistants and I) will try to ensure that grading is accurate and timely. On occasion, there may be errors. If you have a question or a complaint about the manner in which an assignment or exam question was graded then contact us to discuss the issue. Please note that regrade requests must be submitted within 2 weeks of an assignment being marked and within one week of an exam being marked.

Course-related Communication


I will be using the website to post material related to lectures, to publish the homework assignments and solutions, and as a repository for some notes/handouts. Major announcements will also appear on the website.

Course discussions

All course discussions will be handled using Piazza. All questions regarding course material should be directed to the class forum on Piazza. Your questions could be relevant to all students and rather than repeat the answers many times the group will be used to spread information faster. The teaching assistants and I will make our best efforts to respond to all questions posted within one working day (this is normally 24 hours except if a weekend intervenes). I encourage students to respond to questions from their classmates. This improves the level of discussion and will count towards class participation. Some announcements may also appear on this forum.


We all get a lot of email. Please restrict direct emails to communication that is of an individual nature. Examples would be reasons for missing a quiz, clarifications on marks, to set up an appointment to meet me, etc. I will not respond to other queries (such as questions on the homework assignments) via email. You must use Piazza for that purpose. If you would like clarification on topics in lecture, please post your request on Piazza so that responses are available to all. For email responses, please wait for one working day before you repeat your request.