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CS116b/216Spring 2014Sec1Home Page/Syllabus

Computer Graphics Algorithms

Instructor: Chris Pollett
Office: MH 214
Phone Number: (408) 924 5145
Office Hours: MW 5-6pm
Class Meets:
Sec1 MW 1:30pm-2:45pm in MH222


To take this class you must have taken: CS 116A with a grade of C- or better.

Texts and Links

Required Texts: Foundations of 3D Computer Graphics. by Steven J. Gortler
Online References and Other Links:
Nate Robins GLUT (ancient).
SDL (Simple DirectMedia Layer).

Topics and Outcomes

This class will cover algorithms and techniques used in computer graphics and their implementation. Topics include: animation, fractals, texture mapping, sampling and resampling techniques, surface reconstruction, ray tracing, lighting and radiosity, geometric modeling, and animation. By the end of this course, a student should be able to: (1) Create a program which generates a simple scene in OpenGL made up of polyhedra and quadrics (2) Be able to implement algorithms for generating Bezier splines and B-splines. (3) Be able to use a mesh data structure in a geometric modeling project. (4) Be able to draw a scene using various texture mapping techniques such as a basic texture map, a normal map, a cube map, or projector map. (5) Be able to code a scene that makes use of a fractal or iterated function system. (6) Be able to implement a ray-tracing algorithm. (7) Be able to create and use a simple particle system.

Below is a tentative time table for when we'll do things this quarter:

Week 1: Jan 27, Jan 29 Intro Graphics Review
Week 2: Feb 3, Feb 5 Read Ch 15, Textures
Week 3: Feb 10, Feb 12 Fractals, SDL
Week 4: Feb 17, Feb 19 SDL, advanced curves and splines
Week 5: Feb 24, Feb 26 Ch 16, Sampling
Week 6: Mar 3, Mar 5 Ch 17, Surface Reconstruction
Week 7: Mar 10, Mar 12 Ch 18, Resampling
Week 8: Mar 17, Mar 19 Review
Week 9: Mar 24, Mar 26 Spring Break
Week 10: Mar 31 (C. Chavez Day), Apr 2 Review of Ch 19
Week 11: Apr 7, Apr 9 Read Ch 20, Ray Tracing
Week 12: Apr 14, Apr 16 Read 21, Light
Week 13: Apr 21, Apr 23 Read 22 Geometric Modeling
Week 14: Apr 28, Apr 30 Read Ch 23, Animation
Week 15: May 5, May 7 Grad student Presentations
Week 16: May 12 Review
The final will be Friday, May 16 from 12:15pm-2:30pm

Grading and the Difference between Grad/Undergrad Class

HWs and Quizzes 50%
Midterm 20%
Final 30%

There are two variants of this class the undergrad version and the grad version. The grad version will entail additional work in that for each assignment, I will assign a paper to read and you are expected to write a 1 page summary. In addition, for the last homework project, you will be expected to pick a computer graphics paper and then implement some aspect of it, and present to the class the paper and your demo. Grades will be calculated in the following manner for the undergrad version of the class: The person or persons with the highest aggregate score will receive an A+. A score of 55 will be the cut-off for a C-. The region between this high and low score will be divided into eight equal-sized regions. From the top region to the low region, a score falling within a region receives the grade: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-. If the boundary between an A and an A- is 85, then the score 85 counts as an A-. Scores below 55 but above 50 receive the grade D. Those below 50 receive the grade F. For the graduate version of the class: The person or persons with the highest aggregate score will receive an A+. A score of 55 will be the cut-off for a B-. The region between this high and low score will be divided into five equal-sized regions. From the top region to the low region, a score falling within a region receives the grade: A, A-, B+, B, B-. If the boundary between an A and an A- is 85, then the score 85 counts as an A-. Scores below 55 but above 50 receive the grade C. Those below 50 receive the grade F.

If you do better than an A- in this class and want me to write you a letter of recommendation, I will generally be willing provided you ask me within two years of taking my course. Be advised that I write better letters if I know you to some degree.

Classroom Protocol

I will start lecturing close to the official start time for this class modulo getting tangled up in any audio/visual presentation tools I am using. Once I start lecturing, please refrain from talking to each other, answering your cell phone, etc. If something I am talking about is unclear to you, feel free to ask a question about it. Typically, on practice tests days, you will get to work in groups, and in so doing, turn your desks facing each other, etc. Please return your desks back to the way they were at the end of class. This class has an online class discussion board which can be used to post questions relating to the homework and tests. Please keep discussions on this board civil. This board will be moderated. Class and discussion board participation, although not a component of your grade, will be considered if you ask me to write you a letter of recommendation.

Course Requirements, Homework and Quiz Info

The university policy regarding credit hours for classes states:
"SJSU classes are designed such that in order to be successful, it is expected that students will spend a minimum of forty-five hours for each unit of credit (normally three hours per unit per week), including preparing for class, participating in course activities, completing assignments, and so on. More details about student workload can be found in
University Policy S12-3."

This semester we will have five homeworks and weekly quizzes. Every Monday this semester, except the first day of class, the Midterm Review Day, and holidays, there will be a quiz on the previous week's material. The answer to the quiz will either be multiple choice, true-false, or a simple numeric answer that does not require a calculator. Each quiz is worth a maximum of 1pt with no partial credit being given. Out of the total of twelve quizzes this semester, I will keep your ten best scores.

Links to the current list of homeworks and quizzes can be found on the left hand frame of the class homepage. After an assignment has been returned, a link to its solution (based on the best student solutions) will be placed off the assignment page. Material from assignments may appear on midterms and finals. For homeworks you are encouraged to work in groups of up to three people. Only one person out of this group needs to submit the homework assignment; however, the members of the group need to be clearly identified in all submitted files.

Homeworks for this class will be submitted and returned completely electronically. To submit an assignment click on the submit homework link for your section on the left hand side of the homepage and filling out the on-line form. Hardcopies or e-mail versions of your assignments will be rejected and not receive credit. Homeworks will always be due by the start of class on the day their due. Late homeworks will not be accepted and missed quizzes cannot be made up; however, your lowest score amongst the five homeworks and your quiz total will be dropped.

When doing the programming part of an assignment please make sure to adhere to the specification given as closely as possible. Names of files should be as given, etc. Failure to follow the specification may result in your homework not being graded and you receiving a zero for your work.


The midterm will be during class time on: Mar 19.

The final will be: Friday, May 16 from 12:15pm-2:30pm.

All exams are closed book, closed notes and in this classroom. You will be allowed only the test and your pen or pencil on your desk during these exams. The final will cover material from the whole semester although there will be an emphasis on material after the last midterm. No make ups will be given. The final exam may be scaled to replace a midterm grade if it was missed under provably legitimate circumstances. These exams will test whether or not you have mastered the material both presented in class or assigned as homework during the quarter. My exams usually consist of a series of essay style questions. I try to avoid making tricky problems. The week before each exam I will give out a list of problems representative of the level of difficulty of problems the student will be expected to answer on the exam. Any disputes concerning grades on exams should be directed to me, Professor Pollett.


If you believe an error was made in the grading of your program or exam, you may request in person a regrade from me, Professor Pollett, during my office hours. I do not accept e-mail requests for regrades. A request for a regrade must be made no more than a week after the homework or a midterm is returned. If you cannot find me before the end of the semester and you would like to request a regrade of your final, you may see me in person at the start of the immediately following semester.

Academic Honesty

Your own commitment to learning, as evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University, and the University's Academic Integrity Policy requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the Office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The policy on academic integrity can be found at

Specifically, for this class, you should obviously not cheat on tests. For homeworks, you should not discuss or share code or problem solutions between groups! At a minimum a 0 on the assignment or test will be given. A student caught using resources like Rent-a-coder will receive an F for the course and be referred to University for disciplinary action.

Additional Policies and Procedures

The campus policy to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act is:
"If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 requires that students with disabilities register with
Accessible Education Center to establish a record of their disability."

More information about SJSU policies and procedures can be found at the following links: