The University of Western Australia
School of Computer Science and Software Engineering

School of Computer Science and Software Engineering

CITS1401 Problem Solving and Programming

Problem solving is a key intellectual activity. Computer technology has become an important tool to help solve problems in a wide range of disciplines, from the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics to business, architecture, the social sciences and medicine. The strength of computer technology is that it can be programmed to perform nearly any task. While effective programs are available for many kinds of tasks, each program can only perform the tasks anticipated when they were designed, and this limits the kinds of problems they can help solve. To fully utilise the potential of computer technology it is often necessary to build programs that are specifically designed to solve a particular problem.

Students taking this unit learn to solve problems via programming, with a focus on building small programs for specialised tasks. The unit is organised around a number of problems that the students solve as the unit progresses. Many of the problems have a focus on data, and require tasks such as data retrieval, extraction, conversion, aggregation, cross referencing, filtering, calculation, processing and storage. Other problems involve techniques such as search, enumeration, backtracking and "divide and conquer". There is some focus also on building programs that utilise some of the vast amount of information available via the Internet.

To implement solutions, students learn the fundamentals of programming using a high-level programming language. In addition to solving particular problems, the unit includes a focus on the problem solving process itself including problem definition, analysis, generalisation, decomposition into sub-problems, reduction to previously solved problems and evaluation of solutions.

  • Unit Co-ordinator: Lyndon While
  • Lectures: 2 hours per week; labs: 3 hours per week; workshop: 1 hour per week
  • Consultation hours: 11am-noon Wednesdays, Room 1.14 of the CSSE Building
  • Prerequisites: WACE Mathematics 2C/2D or TEE Discrete Mathematics

Recent News:

22 June Voting for the Project 2 prize is now open.
20 June The marks for Project 2 are available from csmarks.
The marked scripts will be available from the CSSE Office after about midday on 23 June. Review your comments and compare with my solution on the web before you query your mark.
20 May As well as SURF, please take the time to complete the following survey on the CITS1401 labs.
16 May Please take the time to complete the SURF survery for CITS1401. SURF provides valuable feedback to help UWA improve its teaching.

Archived News

Assessment Structure:

Mid-semester test 15%
Project 1 10%
Project 2 15%
Final exam 60%

To pass CITS1401, you must achieve ALL of the following:

  • an overall mark of at least 50%, AND
  • at least 40% in the test and Project 1 combined, AND
  • at least 40% in the final exam.