Queen's School of Computing Last changed Fri Sep 04 08:27

August 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th are Registration Pause Days. No students, staff or faculty can process any add/drop or swap functions in SOLUS. This is to allow the waitlist process to run before open enrollment.

See also the Arts and Science page about 2020-21 and the pandemic.

For information about changes from previous years, see the enrollment news history. See also the key dates for plan selection and enrollment.

Interpreting the Fall Timetable

The fall timetable may change up to just before the first appoiintment slots on Monday August 10. Some lecture sections with a timeslot (indicating the requirement for a synchonous session) may go completely asynchronous. Others with two separate lecture sections may combine into one, using the current (Wednesday August 5) schedule time of one of the two sections. Be prepared to re-evaluate your schedule.

As of Monday you will find that each course falls into one of the following categories.

  1. Those that are unscheduled, with no timeslot information (which, confusingly, has to be listed as "TBA 12:00AM-12:00AM" rather than "will never have a timeslot"). These are fully asynchronous, and should have a single "lecture" section (which will not be an actual lecture, but rather some combination of readings and videos).
  2. Those with one lecture section and one timeslot. The instructor plans for some form of synchronous online session, for which students in a remote timezone would need an accommodation.
  3. Those with two lecture sections, both scheduled with timeslot information. These are two separate sections; you will chose one of the two that best fits your schedule. Presumably the instructor will repeat the same activity in each section in a given week. These may be lectures, or some other activity that benefits from everyone being in the same virtual "place" at the same time.
  4. Those with one scheduled lecture section and one unscheduled. In this situation you sign up for the unscheduled one if you are in a timezone that makes it impossible to sign up for the scheduled one, and the scheduled one if you are in a nearby timezone.
  5. Those with a single lecture section with two timeslots. Some instructors will want you to attend both, while others may want you to choose one or the other. We will update this news page when we know which policy applies to what course.
Regardless of which category your course falls into, instructors are expected to accommodate students in distant timezones. This does not mean it's OK to declare yourself resident in a distant timezone if you really are in a nearby one; the synchronous sections have a variety of pedagogical purposes that your instructor believes will enhance your educational experience.

Winter Timetable Not Final

Most winter Computing courses will be remotely delivered but some, perhaps many, may still be synchronous (e.g. requiring attendance via MS Teams or Zoom). We have been told for now to override all winter term conflicts; the schedule will be revisited in September / October. The process may reinstate old comflicts and introduce new ones. According to University policy you are responsible for meeting the requirements of both conflicting courses with regard to required attendance.

We have applied for permission to teach COCA 201, CISC 324, CISC 325, and CISC 497 on campus but have not yet been told whether this will be permitted. Contrary to previous announcements, CISC 497 has not yet been approved.

Deferring Studies

In response to COVID stresses, some students may wish to defer their studies by a term or perhaps longer. If you defer for one or two terms, all you need to do is drop your courses and make sure you enrol in some for the second or third term. If you defer longer, you need to fill out a Return to Studies form, found on the Arts and Science website. Please review the form in advance of leaving, since there are constraints on what you can do academically while you are away.

Taking less than a full-time course load (9.0 units per term) can affect government programs and visas; be sure to investigate the consequences of a deferral before you drop your courses.

Changes to Computing Plans

New Security Focus in COMP and CSCI plans

Security has been added as a sixth focus, but there is an error in the plan description.
2.A.vi: Security
a. 15.0 units in CISC 220/3.0, CISC 324/3.0, CISC 327/3.0, CISC 335/3.0, CISC 447/3.0
b. 3.0 units from CISC 434/3.0, CISC 448/3.0
The error is that CISC 324 is already a required course and no course can be used to fulfil two different requirements except in special cases such as dual and second degrees. For students enrolled in a Computing major or CSCI plan before May 1, 2021, you may substitute any SOFT_Design course at the 300 level or above: CISC 332/3.0; CISC 340/3.0; CISC 352/3.0, or the 400-level SOFT_Design options.

New course CISC 447 and CISC 335 waiver

Two courses on security have been added (CISC 447 'Introduction to Cybersecurity' and CISC 448 'Software Reliability and Security'). CISC 435 'Computer Networks' has been renamed to CISC 335. CISC 448 will be offered for the first time in 2021-2

CISC 447 officialy requires CISC 335, but that requirement is meant to kick in next year after students have had a chance to take 335 this year. CISC 447 currently has to spend some time covering networks material on its own, but next year it will evolve to remove the networks material covered in 335 and replace it with enriched material on security.

Contact Karen to waive the 335 prerequisite if you already have a C- or better in CISC 324.

Topics courses CISC 490

Fall CISC 490 'Computing Beyond Turing'. Prerequisites B+ in CISC 365 and registration in a Computing plan. Can serve as a theory course in Fundamental Computation for the major or CSCI.

Winter CISC 490/846 'Software Design Methodologies'. Requires 'B-' in CISC 322 or CISC 326, and registration in a Computing plan. Can serve as a SOFT_Design option in SODE.

There was a temporary issue where CISC 490 didn't show up on SOLUS; it is now fixed.

AI courses offered

Contrary to previous announcements, CISC 453 is offered, but is crosslisted with CISC 474; you can take one or the other. COGS students please sign up for CISC 453 so SOLUS will know you have completed the graduation requirements.

Since CISC 453 is crosslisted, and CISC 467 will not be offered this year, AI focus students do not have enough options. In response, the AI option list in COMP and CSCI now allow CISC 467 to be replaced with a 400-level course in CISC or CISC_Subs. Also see the announcement that CISC 473 (Deep Learning) is now available to AI students.

Suitable courses include CISC 457 'Image Processing and Vision', CISC 471 'Computational Biology' (requires CISC 271), CISC 486 'Game Engine Development' (requires CISC 226), CISC 422 'Formal Methods in Software Engineering', and CISC 451 'Topics in Data Analytics' (requires CISC 351 or CISC 372). These courses either present techniques that are also relevant to many AI applications (e.g., image analysis, genetic computing, constraint solving, search space exploration, data analysis), or use AI techniques (e.g., gaming).

All of this means that this year, to graduate in the AI focus you need three of the following four options (besides the required COGS 100, COGS 201, and CISC 352).

  1. CISC 452 (Neural Networks). This course is currently full.
  2. CISC 453 or CISC 474 (crosslisted as the same Reinforcement Learning course)
  3. A single CISC or CISC_Subs course at the 400 level, replacing CISC 467.
  4. CISC 473 (Deep Learning), which needs either CISC 371 or the combination of CISC 352 with first-year algebra and calculus.

COGS 4th year options

COGS students may take the same list of courses as the AI students, but they may not have the prerequisites for 473.

Danger! Avoid Deferring Courses

The leading digit of a course is the year in which it is expected to be taken; thus 300-level courses are expected to be taken in 3rd year, for example. Do not defer a course to a later year if at all possible; this may require that you give up taking a desirable optional course in favour of a required core course.

The reason is that we cannot guarantee a conflict-free timetable between courses intended to be taken in different years.

Conflict and Prerequisite Waivers

Waiving a prerequisite requires permission of the instructor and the School; contact Undergraduate Chair before talking with the instructor. Many prereqisites are never waived except in extraordinary circumstances.

Waiving a conflict requires negotiation between the School and both instructors, each of whom may impose conditions. In some cases GPA and grades in other courses are relevant, in which case the Undergraduate Chair may become involved. Contact the Undergraduate Assistant.

Remote courses that are fully asynchronous have TBA for the timeslot and don't cause conflicts. If there is a timeslot listed, the instructor expects to do some synchronous activity over the Internet at that time. So even remote courses need to go through the conflict resolution process.

Enrolment Restrictions

Until Open Enrollment starts (August 31) there are restrictions on who can enroll in certain courses. For large courses, especially 2nd year, it is critical that you enroll during this time, lest you be locked out by non-Computing students during Open Enrollment.
  • 1st year courses except Fall CISC 124 are reserved for 1st year Arts and Science students; this is a blanket policy of Arts and Science.
  • Core 2nd year courses 203, 204, 221, 223, and 235 are reserved for CISC students, along with popular options CISC 226 and 271.
  • Winter 221, 223, and 235 are reserved for 2nd year CISC students. Upper-year students should take Fall 221, 223, and 235. The only exceptions are for dual degree, 2nd degree, and minors, who are often in their "second year of computing" while actually being upper-year students; if you are in this category, contact Karen Knight stating your exceptional circumstance for an override.
  • Data analytics certificate courses CISC 251 and 351 are reserved for students registered in the certificate.
  • A limited number of places are reserved for students in certain plans for courses required in those plans that are not core in the major or CSCI.
All 3rd and 4th year CISC courses except those for the Data Analytics Certificate are permanently reserved for CISC students via a prerequiste; this is separate from enrolment reserves.

Fall CISC 365

Fall CISC 365 is co-taught with CMPE 365 and is a slightly different course that would normally risk overflowing the classroom if CISC students were free to take it. For both reasons we normally only permit graduating students, and those on exchange in Winter of their 3rd year, to enroll. Send email to the Undergraduate Assistant with your student ID and enrolment appointment time if you qualify for either of these exceptions.

Because the class is online for Fall 2020, we are able allow other students with unusual circumstances to take it (but not if it is just a preference). Contact the Undergraduate Chair if you believe qualify for an exception other than gradation or exchange.

Winter 365 is open to all Computing students.

COGS course limits

For COGS students wishing to take Linguistics courses as one of their three options: LLCU can only offer a few reserved spaces each year in required course LING 340 and optional courses LING 310, 320, 330. If you do not get in, please put yourself on the waiting list during the restricted enrolment period. It may prove necessary to use the other two COGS options (Philosophy and Psychology), or to switch to the more technical AI option within the Computing major, possibly combining it with a minor in one of the three COGS-related disciplines.

Grade Requirement in Prerequisite Courses

As of July 2017 enrollment in any Computing course required a C- or better in all its prerequisite courses, but we used to waive this requirement (during 2017-18 and 2018-19) to give people time to raise their grades. As of July 1, 2019, we now enforce the C- requirement, and do not waive it, as was announced back in 2017.

Statistics and the Analytics focus

The Data Analytics focus requires 3rd year course CISC 371, which requires statistics. If you don't take statistics in 2nd year, you will need to defer CISC 371 and CISC 372 to 4th year. This will affect your workload in 4th year but doesn't jeopardize graduation unless CISC 372 conflicts with a required 4th year course; we can't guarantee that 3rd year courses won't conflict with 4th year ones.

Enrollment for COCA students

SOLUS can't tell when someone intends to take a COCA degree, since COCA students are officially in Arts degrees instead of Computing degrees, so can't qualify for enrollment in CISC courses during the period when enrollment is restricted to Computing students. Contact Karen Knight (karen@cs.queensu.ca) if you are in this position.

Internship Requirements

You must have a maximum of 108 units (with certain additional constraints) of courses completed by the end of the academic year just before the start of your internship; the full definition of the constraints is in the QUIP application form. This is a recent policy change to increase above the previous 90 unit limit.

School of Computing policy requires you to agree to return for a full-time academic year after an internship.

Unable to Enroll

Some courses were not full but had spaces reserved for people in specific plans. Those reserves expired on August 31 (open enrolment). Since transcripts cannot show which focus you're taking in the major or CSCI, there was no way to reserve spaces for students in a specific focus.

Problems Thought to be Fixed

This includes situations where a course is full and will not be further increased.
  • Waitlist processing when courses increase in size or studnets drop was not working properly until early Tuesday 2020-08-25; it is now being run less frequently and being initiate manually, but it is running. This may have been the cause of students not being able to enroll in non-full courses for which they had the prerequisites.
  • COGS 100: size increase as of 2020-08-18 15:30. Admission now restricted to COGS, the Major, and CSCI until Open Enrolment.
  • CISC 102 fall is full and will not increase. Consider Winter or Summer sections of this course.
  • CISC 121 fall. Size increase as of 2020-08-21 11:05.
  • CISC 221 fall: Size increase as of 2020-08-25 9:50.
  • CISC 322: another size increase reqested 2020-08-26 9:04.
  • CISC 330: size increase late in the week of August 17-21.
  • Fall 360: Size increase as of Monday 2020-08-24.

    Also, some students would have prefered the winter section but were forced into fall because of an apparent conflict between CISC 352 and 360. We can override the conflict if you want to move back into the winter.

  • CISC/CMPE 457: size increase as of 2020-08-20 10:55.
  • CISC/CMPE 452: small size increase as of 2020-08-18 16:00. COGS 400 seats transferred 2020-09-03 15:00. AI focus students have alternatives such as CISC 473.
  • CISC 465: size increase to 40 as of 2020-08-20 10:50. There was a temporary problem where it did not recognize CISC 260 as equivalent to CISC 360; that was fixed as of 2020-08-24 11:20.

Open Issues

  • COCA 201: Because of COVID restrictions, and the hope that we will be permitted to teach this on-campus in the winter in a size-limited lab, this course is currently restricted to 4th year COCA students to ensure they can graduate. The situation may change in late September or early October when we know more about what is happening with Winter term.
  • COGS 201 fall. Size increase 2020-08-25 14:15. All spaces will be reserved until August 31 for COGS students and 3rd and 4th year students in the major and CSCI.
  • CISC 352: Open spaces are reserved for specific plans. Size increase requested 2020-08-23.
  • CISC 422: currently many available spaces are reserved for SODE students. Size increase as of 2020-08-20 11:30, which should let some non-SODE students in. Consider winter 465 as your theory course if you're in Fundamental Computation.
For some courses we cannot increase size arbitrarily, because of access to resources or lack of qualified TAs, which is why negotiations are necessary.

CISC 335 and 372 Prerequisites

SOLUS had incorrect prerequisites for CISC 335 and 371; they are actually CISC 324 and 271, respectively. If you enrolled without the prerequisite before the fix, please drop and pick diffrent coruses. We will eventually have time to go through and drop people ourselves, but you are better off making the change yourself, now.

400-level Option Courses

  • The major and the Computer Science specialization "fundamental computation" focus requires a 400-level theory course. The available choices are CISC 422 and CISC 490 ("Computing Beyond Turing"), both in the fall, and CISC 465, in the winter.
  • Software Design (Software Development option) requires a 400-level course from a list called Soft_Design in the official plan description. The available courses are 452, 454, 458, 486, the winter section of 490 ("Software Design Methodologies"), and SOFT 437. We have no information on whether the allowed Electrical Engineering courses are available or have room: ELEC 470/3.0; ELEC 471/3.0; ELEC 476/3.0; ELEC 478/3.0

CISC 473 now offered for both AI and Analytics

We have found an instructor for CISC 473, Deep Learning, for the winter term, and it is now in SOLUS. It is meant for Analytics focus students, so has a prerequisite of CISC 371. However, if you are aiming for the AI focus or COGS, we can override that prerequisite if you have C- or better in CISC 352, first-year Calculus, and first-year Algebra. Contact Karen if you are lack 371 but have the alternative prerequisites.

For 2021-22, CISC 473 will evolve to need either CISC 371 or the combination of CISC 352 and 271.

SOLUS problem re CISC 498 Prerequisites Fixed

As of Monday August 17th SOLUS did not recognize the CISC 498 prerequisites in many cases. This was fixed around 9am on the 18th.

Conflicts with CISC 496, CISC 498, CISC/COGS 499, and CISC 500

Once the winter term schedule is finalized, some courses may turn out to conflict with one or more of CISC 496, CISC 498, CISC/COGS 499, and CISC 500, the "capstone" courses. Follow this procedure to get a conflict waiver: First, enroll in the capstone. This may require you to un-enroll from the conflicting course. This allows SOLUS to enforce the hard-to-hand-check prerequisites of most of them. Second, email Karen Knight (karen@cs.queensu.ca) with your student number and stating all of the following:
  1. You will attend (or participate via Zoom or Teams) the first lecture of the capstone course, and, if you're in CISC 498, all of its seminars, and if CISC 499, the final presentation.
  2. You understand you are fully responsible for catching up on any missed work in the other course.
  3. You understand that this waiver does not entitle you to any special consideration not available to other students, including exemption from any penalties for missing classes in the non-capstone course.

CISC 322 as co-requisite to CISC 423

CISC 322 had to move into the winter term this year for a combination of reasons, but that created a problem for SODE students who deferred 322 until 4th year. We will be negotiating with ECE, who teach the Requirements Engineering course, over how to adjust the content of 322 and 423 so that a co-requisite relationship can work, and will be asking to have SOLUS change 322 from a pre-requisite to a co-requisite and add "C- in the CISC 322 prerequisites" as a prerequisite to CISC 423. If that has not happened by the time of your appointment, and you are a SODE student, send Karen your student number with a brief mention that you are in this category, and she will check your transcript and enroll you.

This is a special case for this year only; there may be good pedagogical reasons to revert to the previous relationship between the two courses.

Plan Selection

Program/Plan Selection for students entering 2nd year (with 24 or more units) took place between May 27 and June 5. Second year in Computing is now full. If a student has successfully completed (C- or better) all 2nd year core courses and also meets the grade requirements for Computing plans (2.6 or better GPA in all courses, B in CISC 121 or 124), it may be possible to admit them to 3rd year.

First Year Information Session

PDF of First Year Information Session Slides (last updated April 9, 2020)